Some people believe that they are the center of the world. In “The Truman Show,” Jim Carrey portrays Truman Burbank, a man for whom this is true. The only problem is that he doesn’t know it. Truman lives in a world that was created just for him when he was adopted as a baby by a television company who had the idea of creating a show that focuses on one person for his entire life.
The show airs 24/7 and documents every moment in Truman’s life. But his life is not real, it is only an illusion and the people and relationships Truman is surrounded by are illusions too. The place he calls home is actually a giant studio, the largest ever built, with hidden cameras everywhere. All his friends are actors who play their roles each day in the world’s most-watched TV series.
Truman believes that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea that he is being exploited. He grows suspicious after discovering a catering set-up when he mistakenly stumbles backstage. He discovers more to make his suspicion grow until one day everything suddenly makes sense: why his wife crossed her fingers in their wedding photo; why he can’t leave the island; why his wife spontaneously breaks into what seem to be advertisements for various household products, and many more. Will he manage to find his way to the real world and leave the studio life behind?
“The Truman Show” is an outstanding example of both a utopia and a dystopia. On the side of utopia, Truman lives a safe life where everything appears to be perfect, but a life of perfection is not really perfect because it is so monotonous. This is what makes Truman’s world a dystopia. A predictable world lacks excitement and stimulation, making it an unpleasant place to live.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.