Criticism In The Truman Show By Peter Weir

1656 Words7 Pages
In director Peter Weir's The Truman Show, the audience is brought into the world of Truman Burbank, where every moment, act and conversation is staged. Every aspect of Truman's world is aware of the artificiality of this 'universe', everybody, except for Truman. Truman is at the centre of a world-wide television reality show which documents his every moment, twenty-four hours a day and he has absolutely no idea. On the surface, it appears that Peter Weir has simply based a film around a fascinating concept. Beneath the surface, however, The Truman Show provides an intriguing commentary on our modern society and sends a far deeper message to the audience. It forces one to question our obsession with fame, money, media and entertainment as well as control and what shapes the human identity. Truman is alienated from society from birth, adopted by a television corporation and brought up in an 'idyllic' world where he is 'protected' from the harsh truths of the real world. Marxist theory would use the show's director Christof as a metaphor for the powerful ruling class, the one who calls the shots and plays the part of creative 'father' of the show, a wealthy TV exec using another for financial gain and worldwide fame, and of course, television ratings. Exploitation is central to Marxist analysis, 1 which makes it an ideal angle through which to view The Truman Show; the extras, main cast and members of the studio are unlike Truman, in that they have a choice. They are handsomely compensated for their hours2, but they sacrifice their daily lives to live a 'fake” life under strict control of perfectionist director Christof.3 Thus in essence they sell their life experience for financial gain. The ultimate exploitation, of course, is ... ... middle of paper ... ...e, a beautiful house and a friendly community, but if none of these things are really 'real', how can Christof preach the 'realness' of Truman. How can Truman's identity be real/natural/unadulterated when everything that shaped Truman is not? Is Truman shaped by his thoughts? (which are hidden) or by his manipulated surroundings? To quote from the film; “You have nothing to fear. I know you better than you know yourself.”(Christof) “You never had a camera in my head.”14(Truman) What The Truman Show really questions is our control over our lives and identities. How do the messages from dominant entities (the media, Hollywood, trusted world leaders) affect our thoughts and how our identities are shaped? To what extend do they dictate what we do, how we live and how we interact with others? We may think we are in control, but how much of that control is a façade?

More about Criticism In The Truman Show By Peter Weir

Open Document