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Truman Show: a False Reality

"In case I don't see ya',

good afternoon,

good evening,

good night! "


Nowadays, the perception of reality is becoming a context rather than a concept when media interferes in this subject. Specifically, the cinematography as a cultural practice starts to reproduce the everyday life as a scenario. In this situation, The Truman Show which is produced by Peter Weir in 1998 can be given as an example, to let us think about the media and its reality all over again. This essay aims to expand the following aspects which are the critical reflection of media as an entertainment tool, the role of television in everyday life and a critique of our media-saturated society through the movie: Truman Show.


The Truman Show is an American comedy-drama movie which was directed by Peter Weir in 1998. Our protagonist Truman Burbank, is an insurance salesperson who lives in a fictional town of pretty houses and smiling people, Seahaven. With the beginning of his birth, he became a pure naïve ‘celebrity’ because of his life, his job, even his wife. His friends were the pieces of a fictional puzzle which were created by producer and director Christophe. Christophe works like a semi-god or the Big Brother and controls all the Show with his minions and he has one goal which is to keep the audience attracted. As the only True-Man at the Show, Truman Burbank's life was planned before his birth and he is living that planned life without notice and asking anything about the meaning of his life for a long time in SeaHeaven.


A movie in a movie, Truman Show let the audience chases reality in a utopian virtuality. Moreover, it represents the question of how does media influences the society? Fictional society in this movie does not want to end this reality lifelong Show, and they admire Truman’s virtual happiness without living in this dirty world which is presented on the television. According to Debord, one of the main aims of the Show business is to distort and to blur out the ingenuity of the system and furthermore, he claims that the Show is all about consumption and commodity. This shows us that media commence transforming the life into a voyeurism using the audience.


As Ronald Bishop quoted and Andrew Niccol, who wrote the screenplay for the Truman Show, said in an interview: ‘I am interested in this idea of who is the real captive- is it Truman or is it the viewers watching Truman?'. Bearing in mind the previous points, as the real audience of The Truman Show, we might have opinions on the fictional viewers that they let themselves to media's hands. However, this movie is also a product of that media which means these critics that we did also was designed, planned and produced by that consumptionist way of thinking. To support this as explained at the Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Good Night: The Truman Show as Media Criticism, again Bishop says that ‘ The illusion is this: that after seeing these films, we are aware of and can effectively deal with media’s impact on our lives. We do not realize that the tool we have been given to accomplish is this, is a commodified version of genuine media criticism.’


In conclusion, in Weir’s movie revealed the power of media and it also mentions how mass media may affect people. As well as, The Truman Show remarks the negative sides of perception of reality, false reality, and monitoring while the real audience’s criticism taken seriously within the framework created by the media.

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