Review – The Truman Show (1998)

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the-truman-show-555540f499ff3Welcome to Simulated Reality Week: Day 5. The second film I’m reviewing today is The Truman Show. Now, it wasn’t terribly long ago that I reviewed this film during a rewatch of every Jim Carrey film. I initially gave it 97% in my first review, but that was before I had my current rating system. So, I wanted to see how that would compare to my original score because interestingly enough, my scores are almost always the same…or darn near. Anyway, when I think of simulated reality, I mostly think of The Matrix, Inception, and believe it or not, The Truman Show. His world may not be mystical, but it’s still not real. So let’s get into it.

Meet Truman, he is a thirty-year-old man that lives a normal life. That is until he begins to realize that the world somehow revolves around him. That’s because he is the star of a 24/7 television show called The Truman Show, but he has no idea. Every camera is hidden, and all of his family and friends are actors. However, you can only control so much about a person’s life before they begin to notice some oddities…like lights falling from the sky and people talking on the radio, following his every movement. Will Truman discover the reality of his situation, and even more questionable is if he can leave.

Not only is this a great simulated reality film, but it’s also one of my favorite Jim Carrey films. It was really one of the first times that Jim was able to get out of his safety net of being ridiculous and being slightly more dramatic…even though his brand of comedy is still clearly found here. What really gets me when watching is it really makes you think. What if you were the star of a TV show? Life is actually crazy so I wouldn’t be surprised. What if they made The Truman Show show you what it’s like in real life for those who are watching you…oh…snap. Let’s open the door for some conspiracy theories, shall we?

I’ve had those same thoughts watching The Matrix and Inception, which is why I really love simulated reality films, they’re just…psychological when you think about them too much – which makes for great discussions. Anyway, let’s break it down and talk about everything it did right and wrong.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Cast – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2

First off – people. This is one of the best categories for the movie. Jim Carrey does a great job playing Truman. He’s funny, he’s serious, and he’s incredibly likable. As are virtually every other character in the movie, as they all have a role to play in thwarting Truman’s attempts at discovering the reality of his situation. I wouldn’t recast this film because every single person works perfectly together.

WRITING SCORE – 10/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2

Next up, we have another perfect score with the writing in the film. First of all, we have some really memorable lines, which isn’t uncommon for a film with Jim Carrey. It’s also a pretty balanced film, nothing too convoluted at all. The story itself presents plenty of ethical and moral questions regarding if this is even a good thing to do to a human being. It is highly original and interesting from beginning to end!

BTS SCORE – 10/10
Visuals – 2|Directing -2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2

Yet another perfect score for the behind-the-scenes aspect of the film. This is a very colorful and interesting film when it comes to visuals, as every shot is technically one of the hidden cameras – so it actually does feel like a hidden camera TV show, which is pretty awesome. The directing is especially good because of the camera use mentioned prior. The editing has to make you believe a director is behind the scenes directing which cameras to use, and it once again feels perfect there. This is an as advertised film, and the music is so good that I taught myself one of the songs in the score and still play it to this day. I believe the song I know by heart is “Truman Sleeps”.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 1|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1

Next up is the narrative arc score, which didn’t get a perfect score, but why? Let’s find out. The introduction, like most introductions, was perfectly fine. We were introduced to the idea of The Truman Show, as well as all of the characters involved. The inciting incident, however, already happened before the events of the film do. They go back to it as a flashback at the right spot of an inciting incident, but the actual “no turning back” moment already happened, you just didn’t know what it was. The obstacles came down to Truman trying desperately hard to discover his own reality, the climax was also really powerful and important, and the falling action really just gave you more of an idea of a new norm, but not much more than that. I want to know how the world is getting by when everyone watches this show 24/7, and we don’t really get much of that.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 9/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 2|Impusle/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience In – 2

How entertaining is it, though? Very much so. As I’ve said earlier, this is one of the top films of Jim Carrey’s entire career, and a big part of that comes down to how entertaining it is. It’s insanely rewatchable, very fun to watch, I would buy it in a heartbeat, and it definitely sucks the audience in when it needs to. The only thing it only does slightly gives you an impulse to discuss certain elements of the film, but it won’t burn at you if you don’t get the opportunity.

TOTAL SPECIAL 50/50
Simulated Reality – 10|Comedy – 10|Drama – 10|Jim Carrey – 10|Memory – 10

Finally, we have the five specialty questions that I wrote before watching the film. First, we are still on simulated reality week, so how was that aspect? It’s certainly a very interesting version of it, but a version of it nonetheless. It is also listed as a comedy and drama, so ultimately dramedy. So, regarding that, how was the comedy in this dramedy? Very well thought out and excellently executed by Carrey, as usual. The drama is also tenser than you might initially anticipate, given the bright/colorful setting of the film. The next question I had was how this is in terms of Jim Carrey’s career, and I’m not going to say it a third time, so if you don’t know what I think by now, you haven’t read the review. Finally, does it hold up to memory? Weirdly enough, it does in more ways than one. I ended up with the same exact score as I jotted down the last time I reviewed the movie, and that was without the scoring system.

TOTAL – 97/100

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