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Truman Show, The (1998, Jim Carrey, Laura Linney)



Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, an insurance executive who lives in the idyllic resort of Seahaven, happily married to Meryl (Laura Linney) and surrounded by wonderful neighbours and friends. But things niggle; he misses his first love, Lauren (Natascha McElhone) who moved to Fiji and then he has a disturbing sighting of his long-lost father, now a bum. What Truman doesn’t realise is that he’s the unwitting star of the world’s most popular reality TV show. Watched by billions from birth, his every move is followed 24/7 by hidden cameras, overseen by producer Christof (Ed Harris), Seahaven is a massive studio and any desire Truman has to travel is sublimated by implanted phobias. But then Meryl, axed because she began to develop feelings for Truman and his plight, sneaks back on set and tells him the truth. Can they escape to happiness?

Like EDtv and Series Seven: The Contenders , The Truman Show asks what, if there were no controls, could reality TV become? Ed Harris as the self-serving producer who can justify all his actions is excellently slimy but Carrey is the real star, reining in his occasional OTT persona with a controlled performance that shows the pain he feels at the loss of Meryl and the anger on discovering his ‘real’ life. Always intelligent, Niccol’s script and Weir’s confident direction forces the viewer to question their view of society and their life and ask if it is really, really real…

production details
USA | 103 minutes | 1998

Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Andrew Niccol

Una Damon as Chloe
Natascha McElhone as Lauren / Sylvia Garland
Noah Emmerich as Marlon / Louis Coltrane
Philip Baker Hall as Network Executive
Laura Linney as Meryl Burbank / Hannah Gill
Ed Harris as Christof
Brian Delate as Walter Moore / Kirk Burbank
Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank
O-Lan Jones as Bar Waitress
Holland Taylor as Alanis Montclair / Angela Burbank
Paul Giamatti as Simeon
Peter Krause as Laurence
Blair Slater as Young Truman
Heidi Schanz as Vivien
Ron Taylor as Ron
Don Taylor as Don
Ted Raymond as Spencer
Krista Lynn Landolfi as Bar Waitress
Harry Shearer as Mike Michaelson
Jeanette Miller as Senior Citizen
Philip Glass as Keyboard Artist
Joe Minjares as Bartender
John Pleshette as Network Executive
Terry Camilleri as Man in Bathtub
Joel McKinnon Miller as Garage Attendant