The Truman Show

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie

The Truman Show (1998) is a movie directed by Peter Weir, written by Andrew Niccol, and starring Jim Carrey. Niccol was due to direct the film until Carrey was signed. It was felt that Carrey's $12 million salary was too great an investment to leave in the hands of a second-time film director, and Weir was drafted.



The film is set in a hypothetical world, where an entire town is dedicated to a continually running television soap opera, where all but one of the participants are actors. Only the central character, Truman Burbank (Carrey), is unaware that he lives in a constructed reality, for the entertainment of those outside. The film follows his discovery of his situation and his attempts to escape. On the surface level, it criticizes greed, portraying people who would do anything for fame and money. Central characters pretend friendship to Truman, and in the case of his "wife", bury their real feelings of disgust.

Truman was chosen out of many unwanted babies to be a TV star. However, he is an explorer, and especially, he wants to find a girl that back in college was caught trying to explain things to Truman. Eventually, however, Truman begins to figure out that it's all fake. Everyone tries to reassure him, but Truman has already reached the point of no return, and escapes.

Along his path to truth and escape, Truman encounters various obstacles placed in his way, including but not limited to, choreographed traffic jams, a forest fire, a long bridge to cross (knowing that he is afraid of water), and an artificially created hurricane-force storm on the "ocean". He finally reaches the edge of the constructed reality, and exits via a door in the wall.


The Truman Show can be considered a parody of the soap opera genre and reality television. It also draws heavily on themes of gnosticism: this religious school teaches that the world we live in is essentially false, and the creation of a somewhat evil and twisted god called the Demiurge. Another religious theme connects the film to the Book of Job, where Satan, in a wager with God, puts Job through a series of hardships to see if he will renounce God's name. Another possible religious allegory could be that of the Garden of Eden, where Adam (Truman), eating from the tree of knowledge (discovering the unreality he leaves in), leaves Eden (the perfect town Truman lives in).

Missing image
Truman taking a bow

Close viewing reveals many subtle references to subjects ranging from classic television (The Prisoner) to the Bible. For example, the number of the boat (139) represents Psalm 139, where the Psalmist talks about God knowing the Psalmist's location and his every thought. The creator of the television show, "Christof" (Ed Harris), tries to take God's role, but Truman refutes this claim ("You never had a camera in my head"). Of particular interest is the line "Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light", which we see literally when Christof hunts for the escaped Truman.

One alternative ending was less hopeful than the one that made it to release. The more hopeful one in the finished film was a result of collaboration between writer Andrew Niccol and director Peter Weir.

Characters' names

Missing image
Truman at his desk

Truman: Truman is made up of the two words: "True" and "Man". This is supposed to remind us of the fact the Truman is the only real personality in the show, and that everyone else is fake.

Meryl: Truman's wife is named for Meryl Streep, an actress. She is so named because she is merely an actor posing as someone who loves Truman, while she has no true feelings for him.

Marlon: Truman's best friend is named for Marlon Brando. Like Meryl, he is only an actor, and has no genuine feelings of friendship for Truman. This is most apparent during the dock scene, when he blatantly lies to Truman, telling him "I can't be part of 'it' because there is no 'it'.".

Christof: The creator of Truman's universe, an allusion to Christ. Indeed, Christof oversees the universe from the sky or heavens inside his studio inside the moon.


Philip Glass appears very briefly in the movie as one of the in-studio composer/performers. The soundtrack contains excerpts from his scores for Powaqqatsi and Anima Mundi, as well as some music composed for The Truman Show. Glass shared a Golden Globe Award with Burkhard von Dallwitz for the score.


A poster for the movie was one of the first widely-seen photomosaics. The soap opera As the World Turns would later model their signature globe after the photomosaic design seen in The Truman Show.

Most of the movie was filmed in the master-planned town of Seaside, Florida, near Panama City.

The name of the artificial place where Truman lives is "Seaheaven Island".

The film also explores the idea of a 24-hour on-air reality television program funded entirely by product placement. Everything seen on the show can be bought, and is listed in a catalog. The actors routinely break the fourth wall while addressing the TV audience with ads. This confuses the protagonist, who does not realise that he is part of a show. Products include:

  • Mococoa - "All-natural chocolate drink, made from beans grown on the upper slopes of Mt. Nicaragua"
  • Kaiser Chicken - ubiquitously advertised free-range chicken meat

Truman Burbank is said to have been the first child legally adopted by a corporation, Omnicam Corporation, which produces the show.

The domed city used as a studio for the program is advertised as being one of the only two man-made objects visible from space, together with the Great Wall of China. Whether the Great Wall can actually be seen from space is open to debate. See its article for more details.

Cast and roles include

Missing image
TV infiltrator wearing a sign that says "Truman you are on TV"

See also

External links

fr:The Truman Show sv:Truman Show


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools