The Truman Show (1998)

Truman Show


The Truman Show is in many ways a peculiar film. It essentially criticizes the very industry that makes the production of the movie possible. Although it is not as potent as the other films in this list, it is a perfect illustration of life as a myth in addition to being a social commentary on modern entertainment. The story revolves around Truman. From the day of his birth, he is unaware that his entire life is the focus of a television reality show. All of the people that he comes in contact with are actors, including his own wife. Everything in Truman's world is generally happy, safe and secure. Eventually Truman's desire to expand his horizons beyond routine and learn more about the world begins to crack the hoax that was perpetrated on him. He must decide if he wishes to risk everything that he knows, including his safety and stability, to discover what lies beyond his bubble.

This story depicts the hero myth perfectly and illustrates the existential problem that faces every human being. We readily accept the paradigm that we are born into and rarely question the fundamental basis of our existence. It is the task of the hero to risk everything in order to find his or her true and unique path in life. As in the movie, the focus is on the individual as the star of the show, as the focal point of the entire Universe. The hero's challenge then is to take up the journey to authenticity and reconcile the outer order of the world with his or her inner, true impulse. And the hero must do this without any inflation of the ego. In some sense the hero must lose his or her life in order to gain it. Ultimately, we are responsible for the freak show or hoax or spell that binds us. In other words, the show or drama that is our life is something that we have chosen to engage in.



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