Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank. Image: UCL Film Society

Dear Truman,

You’ve got guts.

You were patient zero of the Too Much Information Age, born and raised on live television, your life laid bare for 24/7 streaming, even while you slept. You’re the ultimate media experiment, a person raised inside a television screen, no permission necessary.

You lived on a set populated by actors who were paid to adore you. After all, they were employees of the corporation that adopted you, and everyone knows you have to be nice to the boss’s son.

You were manipulated into believing the rest of the world was Too Dangerous, and your father’s untimely death by drowning was scripted to give you a paralyzing fear of water. This gave producers a secure feeling that you would never abandon their squeaky-clean seaside community of Seahaven.

You lived in a 1950s-style-American petrie dish but didn’t know it, couldn’t know it. The show’s creator, Christof (Ed Harris), was unconcerned about how patently obvious everything was.

“We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Indeed, you were made for television, as we see in The Truman Show (1998). People in the Real World gathered in bars to watch you on the screens and cheer you on, like they would a playoff game. It was All Truman, All The Time and television audiences couldn’t get enough of you.

Yet, even though you lived a sheltered life, you weren’t stupid. Many things about your life were strange and, once you developed suspicions, the show’s producers and crews could no longer outwit you. You were On To Something which gave you momentum and riveting entertainment for audiences.

Until that episode when you left.

Truman with mother (Holland Taylor, L) and wife (Laura Linney). Image: Plejmo

The guts it would take to leave.

To forsake everything you’ve known – everything – and trade it for the Great Unknown, where you’re not assured of love nor shelter nor employment. In this abyss, you’ll have no immediate resources or finances, only your intense but temporary fame. You’ll likely receive endorsements and lucrative media contracts, until the cameras are packed away.

Then what.

Will you long for Seahaven during times of darkness and uncertainty, where you knew the world and your place in it? Life there was tidy; here, life is messy.

Adjusting will not be easy, and it’s possible you many never fully adjust. You were a prisoner in a world of Safety and Order, and that doesn’t prepare one for anything.

You may be overcome by moments of paranoia: Are they still watching me? If so, will this affect the choices you make in life?

However, there will be payoffs, and they’ll be worth it. You’ll discover a planet big enough to engage your curiosity, and you’ll develop relationships with folks who aren’t paid to like you – and wouldn’t accept the money if offered.

We desperately want this for you, because when we see you step out of your sanitized-climatized world, we’re reminded of what Freedom means.

Hopefully, your fame will be boiled down to a reduction of Ordinary Life with people you love and pursuits that aren’t thwarted. May your stolen life be returned tenfold.

And may your fame subside so much, that in the bars where people used to toast you as a sporting event, someone will occasionally raise a glass and say, “Here’s To Truman What’s-His-Name.”

This post is part of THE REEL INFATUATION BLOGATHON hosted by Font and Frock, and yours truly.

The Truman Show: starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney. Directed by Peter Weir. Written by Andrew Niccol. Paramount Pictures, 1998, Colour, 103 mins.

Happily blogging about old movies and using the royal "We".

28 Comment on “Let’s Raise a Glass to ol’ Truman What’s-His-Name

  1. Pingback: #ReelInfatuation 2019 – Day 2 – Silver Screenings

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