It’s been a few days since I watched the actual film and, unsurprisingly, at this time I am unable to recall names of characters or the entire plot in great detail. But that’s not everything, is it? More importantly I have been mulling over the story and its events in my head. Each and every time I am convinced the film is brilliant, almost surreal. Take for example the time when Truman’s dad drowns in the film. Truman had been adopted by the corporation which produces the show. However his dad had been allowed to stay with him and raise him as a little boy. And then the storywriters decide to put a twist in the plot. They create a storm when the father and son are out fishing. Truman’s dad urges the young Truman that they turn back and head towards the shore lest they are trapped in a storm. However the young Truman wants to go further in the ocean. And then when the seas turn really wild, Truman’s dad is shown to drown in waves. This scares the hell out of Truman, and from this point on he is just too afraid to go over water (even across a bridge). Now I don’t a lot about psychology but this seems to be so distinctly Freudian. The events from Truman’s childhood continue to have an effect on all his adult life even when he is more than thirty years old. And it takes a lot of courage and almost a superhuman effort (in Truman’s context) to be able to overcome those fears. Isn’t this so true about all of us? So often are we not held back from venturing into uncharted waters because our mothers told us not to do something or because we have had an unpleasant childhood incident whose memory continues to haunt us? If Christof, the producer of the show is indeed a representative of the Supreme Being in our lives then the chains that have been put around us are also like Truman’s hydrophobia. Further when Truman tries to break free he is tested to the limits of his endurance (when his boat runs into rough seas). Only when Truman finally defies Christof and challenges him outright does the test finally end and the seas are calmed. The crowning moment for me comes when one of the crew members with Christof yells – “Where did he (Truman) learn to sail, he is an insurance salesman?” Similar to Truman so often we are typecast into being what we do to earn a living. Salesmen sell, programmers program, and postmen deliver mail. The profession becomes you. And you become the profession. Economics drives this and will continue to drive it. However in each one of us there are talents which are hidden and come out if and when we are suitably challenged. The key is to overcome that fear. Defy that authority (or the voice in your head which is yelling ‘don’t do it’) and just go for it.
Ok, back to the film. Another scene which was fantastic for me is when Truman decides to run off from it all and heads out of town with his wife in the car besides him. Almost immediately the traffic is jammed on the freeway and the car is hardly moving at all. Truman’s wife makes him change his mind and only moments later when Truman circles around and returns to the road all the traffic is all gone. Fantastically this all seems to be so true in real life as well. As soon as you decide to do something chances are a several hundred if not several thousand people will also begin to do the same thing. You’ve decided to visit Miami. Go ahead – chances are there will be traffic on the way to the airport. The airport will be packed and all the hotels in Miami will be near full. Change your mind and see what happens!
All in all The Truman Show is a lot of head games (it plays with your head, that is). Brilliantly, if not a little surprisingly, at times it appears that even Jim Carrey’s acting is almost making fun of the film itself and the idea behind it all(“The” + “True” + “Man” + “Show” run by “Christ” + “of”?). The final lesson being that no one can really solve the ultimate riddle there is – also a chest pin button caption in the film– What are we doing here? All we can do is play the part with panache, a whole lot of sense of humor and a great big ‘ole pinch of salt.