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"Truman Show" As An Allegory For Our Time

1096 words - 4 pages

"The Truman Show" (1998), a film written by Andrew Niccol and directed by Peter Weir, is a dark comedy that can be viewed as an allegory for our time. The narrative concerns Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), who is adopted at birth by a giant corporation. Truman is then raised on a huge sound stage, and everyone in his world, relatives, friends, the people on the street, are actors playing a specific role.His life is broadcast live, 24 hours a day, The whole "monstrous fabrication" is paid for by advertising that is surreptitiously hidden in the dialogue by the actors (Sharpe 121). The only person in the world who doesn't know that his Disney-esque, 1950s style life is a fake is Truman.Pulling the strings in this charade is the Truman Show's director, the enigmatic Christof (Ed Harris), who exudes an "air of smug calm" that surely must have come from many sessions with a "yoga instructor" or similar spiritual advisor (Allen 20). However, Christof's attitude is not the calm of compassion. At the center of Christof's being is not a compassionate view of humanity, but rather a ravenous hunger to manipulate and control (Allen 20). As one reviewer pointed out, Christof is an "empty vessel" and Ed Harris' performance of this individual shows how completely frightening a shallow person can be (Allen 20).Christof sits above, god-like, in the main control room of the huge, enclosed sound stage that is Truman's hometown of Seahaven, which resembles the moon. If Christof is seen as the "god" of this tiny world, he is not a compassionate deity, but rather like the gods of Mount Olympus, he manipulates the world below him for his own purposes. Christof looks on Truman with a great deal of fondness, and obviously considers himself to be Truman's real "parent."However, this "parenting" - which is performed by Christof -- never takes into consideration the spiritual, emotional, or psychological needs of Truman. For instance, Christof subjects Truman to the psychological trauma of believing that he witnessed his "father" drown merely to induce a fear of water. This was done so that confining Truman to Seahaven would be easier. As this demonstrates, the ways in which Christof manipulates Truman's life are not for his spiritual development, which should be the goal of every "good" parent, but rather whatever is called for in order to meet Christof's personal needs, which are those of a TV executive.Eventually, Truman realizes at least some of the truth, and attempts to escape Seahaven by sailing out across the sound stage's manufactured bay. After surviving a storm that Christof creates to thwart his plans, Truman arrives at the sides of the dome that encloses Seahaven. He walks along the manufactured horizon, finds steps, and then, finally, a door - the exit to the real world.At this pivotal moment in his life, Truman hears the voice of his personal "god," Christof, coming out of what he has always considered to be the "sky." Christof explains the whole truth of...

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