“The Truman Show” is a psychological comedy-drama film released in 1998 that explored many themes that have since blossomed into today’s society. Directed by Peter Weir, the film gained much success on its debut and earned several award nominations. “The Truman Show” has become a classic among fans, creating a legacy that will stand the test of time for its continuous relevancy. Despite its often comedic and tender moments, it digs deeper into the psychological battle of the main character, Truman Burbank. 

The film surrounds the life of Truman (Jim Carrey), who is the star of his own reality show that is filmed 24/7 and broadcast worldwide — but he thinks he is leading a normal life. Truman simply lives his genuine life while everyone and everything around him is controlled. His hometown, Seahaven Island, is actually in an enormous dome that serves as an entirely convincing reality TV set, built entirely for him. However, the “reality” that Truman lives in is not real; everything is constructed to make good television and keep viewers entertained. Christof (Ed Harris), the show’s creator and executive producer subjects Truman to live a life purely for others’ amusement. 

Audiences in the film enjoy the live display of Truman’s authentic emotions and the relatability of his everyday life. Unconventional to societal expectations, Truman also has an adventurous spirit and wants to go out to explore the world, but he remains in his hometown, Seahaven Island, due to his fear of the sea. This fear was developed by the show’s creators to prevent Truman from leaving and ruining the allure for viewers of straightforward voyeurism into the life of an unsuspecting man. 

“The Truman Show” exceeds expectations in many aspects, proving why the film was so successful in its time and still is today. Through Truman’s mannerisms from start to finish, Carrey truly excels in the main character role as his mannerisms along with his gradual realization that he is living in a simulated reality. Carrey has been known for many great performances, but this is one of his best.

Another one of the film’s highlights is the accuracy and continuity it maintains despite Truman’s curated world slowly falling apart. “The Truman Show” remains accurate to the seemingly perfect utopian set in which it takes place. Even as all the layers of this world get peeled back, the film sticks to story plots that have developed since the beginning such as Truman’s fear of the sea. Despite the well-thought-out cinematography, the psychological themes are what stand out the most and will carry on with the audience even after they watch the film. 

Plenty of media today tends to push the boundaries, with social experiments, stunts and pranks, often bordering on too much. Youtubers like Logan Paul and David Dobrik tend to go the extra mile to keep their viewers entertained; for a while, that worked. However, in 2018, Paul went on a trip to Japan and recorded a vlog of himself and his friends attempting to camp at Aokigahara, also known as the “suicide forest.” In the video, the group found a corpse and while the group was shocked, they proceeded to make jokes about it. Paul released an apology and the video was later taken down but still gathered millions of views. 

David Dobrik, who was known for making videos that involved crazy stunts, got caught in an accident in 2021 that seriously injured a member of his “Vlog Squad,” Jeff Wittek. In a video, Dobrik parked an excavator in a lake with a rope dangling from it and used heavy machinery to swing people around in the air. However, when it came to Wittek’s turn, Dobrik began to swing the equipment at unsafe speeds before slowing it abruptly causing Wittek to slam to the side of the excavator and suffer from a multitude of serious injuries. Since the incident, Witteck has spoken out against Dobrik for his lack of concern following his injuries and even sued him for general negligence and intentional tort. 

Though more outwardly outrageous, this form of going too far for entertainment is what “The Truman Show” was trying to warn against. The aim to please the audience and gain more views compels people to disregard morality, such as the movie’s main antagonist, Christof. He embodies the moral corruption that arises when no limits are given and how far it can go in the entertainment industry. As everything in Truman’s life is manufactured by the show’s producers to entertain the viewers, it reveals a deeper artificial quality of his existence. Throughout the film, Truman becomes reduced to a man that the viewers would find most entertaining, rather than live out his life authentically. 

Another theme explored is personal freedom. Despite Truman’s fear of the sea, he longs to explore the world and discover the unknown. As graduation season is upon us, graduates may resonate with the same feeling of venturing off past what is comfortable and known. Going off to seek adventure and taking a step out the door to the real world is scary and uncertain. However, with one step at a time, it is worth moving forward and exploring what life has to offer. 

“The Truman Show” stands ahead of its time, being an eerie warning of how far the media can go. Despite its comedic value, it often undermines the seriousness of the film when taken at face value. Looking beyond the layers allows audiences of today to analyze the many themes that the film has to offer. There is an array of video essays being made today that reflect the beautiful complexity of the film ranging from its cinematography to profound messages.