The film was made in 1998, and Truman's world seems to exist in a modern time period, but look what's missing: cellphones and the internet. No one in Sea Haven seems to have a cellphone. Truman certainly doesn't. A cellular phone network would be difficult to control; some audience member might spot Truman's number and give him a call. By restricting all the phones on the island to landlines, the producers can keep any calls they want from getting in and out. Truman also doesn't seem to own a computer, or even have one on his desk at work (though one of his coworkers does). The travel agent also has one. But both computers look pretty out of date for 1998. Note also that Truman tries to find Sylvia by calling directory assistance (and when's the last time any of you have done that?) and book a flight by walking into an actual travel agent's office. You'd think that both tasks (especially trying to find someone in another country) would be easier done online. Well, Truman's never heard of online. Again, too hard to control. The producers would have to block out huge sections of the internet to keep Truman from ever hearing about himself. So they simply struck that particular invention from Sea Haven entirely.
It's 1998, not 2008. Internet access wasn't that common back then, especially not in more old-fashioned communities like Seahaven. Not to mention Broadband hadn't been properly implemented yet - almost everybody used cable. As for the computer being outdated: Windows 98 was just released by that point and many computers still used DOS and such. It's possible (within the show's imagined reality) that the travel agent was using old text-based booking software that nobody bothered to update yet. Happens all the time in IT when a system is just too costly to replace, even now.
No, the film was released in 1998; it doesn't specify what year it actually is.
Maybe, but given the statement that "Truman's world seems to exist in a modern time period", aside from the obvious concessions for the film to work (i.e. the existence of the show and the structure that enables it) there's also little to suggest that the film isn't supposed to be set more-or-less contemporaneously to when it was released.
It could still be possible for Truman to have internet access. North Korea actually has a small intranet (an internet only in that country), so would not be inconceivable for Christof to set one up for the show.
How did Truman manage to face his fear of water? Probably he lost it when he discovered that his "father", whom he had seen drowning when he was seven, was actually alive.
Well, phobias are a little more complicated than that. Truman would probably still be afraid of open water thanks to the close call, and the constant subliminal messages about the dangers of travelling. And drowning IS scary; it's just that people without phobias can cross water without constantly thinking about it. Even knowing his father was alive, Truman would still need to confront his fear.
But that's exactly what he's doing — confronting his fear. It's the fact that his father came back having apparently 'drowned' that enables him to do so.
And their programming of Truman to be afraid of water couldn't have been that intensive, as they couldn't have gotten all that rough about scaring a little boy without alienating their audience. Indeed, doing something so drastic to Truman as to make him truly petrified about drowning would've probably traumatized the audience by proxy.
Also—adrenalin. As someone with severe acrophobia, the only thing that gets me up a ladder or near a window of a multi-story building is adrenalin—if it has to be done. If fighting for the truth, even if one has no idea what that really means or even is, doesn't cause a rush of phobia-quieting adrenalin, I can't imagine what would.
Keep in mind that Truman also shouted to the production crew of "The Truman Show" "Is that the best you can do? You're gonna have to kill me!" Truman viewed staying in the director-chosen life as a Fate Worse than Death - even death by drowning would have been preferable to staying in Seahaven.
It's feasible that some of the people constantly working with Truman came to care for him, just like Sylvia did, but if they did they would face the moral decision of the lie they are making him live. Thus logically anybody who cared about Truman would have to be taken out of the show and out of his life.
This is how we know that nobody in the show really cared for Truman.
Except maybe his mom. Except she must apparently have thought it was the best for him to be there. Brainwashed, anyone?
It's implied that Marlon, his in-show best friend, has been Put on a Bus a few times, in turn implying he's not entirely sanguine about it all
Deleted scenes of Marlon pretending he didn't see a disguised Truman in the search, and giving a little angry comment about Truman dying to Cristof.
Truman has always had a natural wonderlust which Christof have tried to crush all his life by constantly bombarding him with everything from newspapers to tv shows to all his 'family & friends' relentlessly going on and on about how Sea Haven is the most wonderful place on the world while the rest of the world sucks. All this promotion could very well have had the opposite effect the same way that many anti-cigarette ads often end up making smoking even MORE attractive to take up.
There's a bottle of Vitamin D capsules on the kitchen table in one scene. Could it be these are standard for all residents of Seahaven as a remedy for going who knows how long without seeing the actual Sun?
There are several plants that can thrive on less UV light than the average person needs.
Why hasn't Truman noticed strange, seemingly impossible things that happen in his life, e.g. rain falling on him and only him? He knows nothing other than this world. He could regularly experience things that seem bizare to us, and not bat an eyelid.
That's true for stuff like the very large Moon, but as for the rain falling only on him, he DID find that strange. Usually when it rains there, it rains on everybody, and when the effects backfired and it only fell on him, he WAS surprised. He didn't react as much as you'd think he would, but he had a very weird and long day and this was just another thing on top of it all; he did react though and realize how strange it was. In fact, the impossible things (the skylight falling) were what made him realize that something wasn't quite right in the first place.
Marlon says something to Truman along the lines of how it seems that the sunset was perfectly painted by God, this takes the meaning of a common phrase about sunsets and gives the actual literal meaning relevance that Truman has yet to see, and could possibly be one of the things that helps Truman realize the entrapment.
The plot relies on the idea that the filmmakers can manipulate Truman's emotions and plant ideas. So the fact that he randomly fell in love with a beautiful woman nearby when he first meets his "future wife" was probably the emotional cues in Truman firing off in the wrong direction. Hence his obsession over an "extra".
Truman's known Marlon all his life. Watch his face when Marlon gives a beautiful, artistic speech about how great friends they are. He's gradually realising that, "Marlon is my buddy who drinks and has been in rehab and stocks vending machines for a living and isn't exactly the kind of guy you'd peg as artistic and dramatic. Hey, this isn't Marlon's usual style at all." Now that Truman's finally looking out for all the things that are strange in his life, he's spotting the little things as well as the big things. Kristoff gave some beautiful lines, but he fed them to the wrong person.
The name of the town is Sea Haven — "C" Haven - Christof's Haven.
"220 countries tuned in for his first step!" At present there are only 193 recognised countries in the world. This is a subtle indication of the Twenty Minutes In The Future setting in the "real world".
This could never happen in Real Life because a corporation can't raise a child, since a corporation isn't a person, right? Oh wait, not, the US Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations did have the rights of people. Oh Crap.
Actually, corporate personhood is much older than that. What WOULD stop this from happening is that the sheer scale of the masquerade required, combined with the number of people involved; it's going to break one way or another. Plus it would be very, very difficult to find someone willing to 'play' the role of a husband or wife, not only due to the intimacy required, but also because they'd essentially have to live in the show 24/7 - You'd literally be married to your job. Finally, as much as Humans Are Bastards - finding an audience for such a program would be difficult. There would be people actively trying to break the masquerade as a human rights issue from the beginning; and this assumes child services doesn't get involved. (They would.) It's also not terribly likely to get someone to spend their entire life in one place. Pointing this out only because yes, it's an incredibly creepy idea that, thankfully, is very, very unlikely to ever occur for real.
Ah, but it didn't start out as a city. It started as the first year of a child's life, and as the show got more popular and more profitable, it gradually expanded. As Truman got older, the world got bigger, bit by bit, and more detailed and more realistic. NOTHING is really stopping this show from happening.
Truman is a slave. MANY people would find that abhorrent in real life and would kill any chance of it being so popular unless we go the Humans are bastards route.
Plus, there is much cheaper ways of creating an entertaining show. Even if the show was widely popular, and the in-show advertising was 100% effective, the upkeep costs would kill any possible profit to be made.
One of the things that might have tipped Truman off was Marlon's Tear Jerker speech. You know, the one that he was dictated specifically by Christof? Remember that Marlon, in the Truman Show, is a guy who stocks vending machines for a living, and comes around with beers for spontaneous parties and is just your average guy. And suddenly he's coming out with all this philosophical, highly educated stuff about how if everybody's in on it, he would be too. Truman has known Marlon for years, and even the viewers who have known him for less than an hour, feel it all sounds... wrong for the character it's coming from. While it's all highly emotional and should sound great, this is so completely Out of Character for him, that it's no wonder you see that subtle realisation that Marlon could well be in on it, dawning on Truman's face. Marlon is obviously trying to dissuade Truman, but look at Truman's face - it's the subtle horror of realizing that if everyone is in on it, then everyone is in on it.
Say, how much exactly of Truman's life is covered by the cameras? How much privacy does he actually have? Would they follow him to the toilet (and record everything he could be doing there)? He and his wife were talking about trying for a baby. Would that also be recorded on air? And how would his wife the actress feel about it anyway?
They explicitly mention that when Truman and Meryl..."try to make babies", they shoot to "wafting curtains" and stuff like that. The cameras (at least the ones they show the audience) don't watch him. As for any possible...alone time, well, that's a bit harder to predict but they probably cut away as soon as he even looks like he's gonna start. It's still creepy though.
On a related note, what about things that might simply be unattractive to watch, like grade-school Truman puking after scarfing down a bellyful of Halloween candy, or teen Truman popping his zits? Or if he or Meryl get accidentally and messily cut while chopping vegetables, creating an unintended scene of gore in pre-watershed prime time?
For the bathroom usage that wasn't using the toilet, I'd be willing to bet they cut to a still camera viewing the door from the outside. They may not be above toilet humor.
Can you imagine what it would have been like if Truman had one of those "masturbates constantly" phases as an adolescent boy? Even if they shot camera angles in a way that hid everything, most of the audience could probably guess what was going on based on his age. The poor kid probably had something as normal as exploring his own body Played for Laughs.
Christof declares his determination to have "the first on-air conception". The plan is for Truman to have a baby. Obviously, Truman will die one day, and, equally obviously, the child could never be let in on the secret. The conclusion one is forced to draw is that once Truman died, the new star of the show would be Truman's child (Truman Jr, perhaps, so they don't have to change the title).
Stated in a deleted scene that this is exactly what they would do, changing the format of the show to show the dual lives of Truman Sr. and Jr.
Truman actually went to school when he was a child. He didn't know his life was a TV show, which means all the children he knew at school had to lie to him every day. Kids being more spontaneous than adults, I guess they probably had to be bribed or threatened. Poor kids...
Those kids didn't necessarily know it was a show, either. They may just have known that their bus drove through a tunnel in a big white wall on the way to school each day, and that Mom and Dad reminded them to say "hi" to that nice Truman boy a lot.
In the Verse, the show that people are watching is called The Truman Show, and it's just a camera rolling on someone's life as preselected scenes happen to this character. The movie you're watching is (supposedly) someone's real life... which just happens to still have scripted events. Truman never did "escape" the show.
So Christof was going to capsize Truman's boat and drown him... which would've been murder. This doesn't seem to occur to anyone watching this as it airs, including the people in the studio. Even the engineer who refused to amp up the wind just couldn't stand the thought of hurting Truman; he didn't seem to say "this is illegal/wrong on a general level/etc." So not only did whatever corporation ran The Truman Show apparently have the right to deprive Truman of his liberty, his privacy, and his free will, they could, by the looks of it, kill him with no consequences, for no better reason than drama. Seriously, what kind of world are these people living in?
Truman may not have been the only child owned by the show. Think about Marlon, he's been Truman's friend since they were children. Continued involvement from such an early age would suggest that he has no say in his life like Truman, but he's actually in on it from the beginning. Unlike many other cast members the childhood best friend, and really only confidant, is near impossible to replace. His relationship with Truman involves a kind of trust you cannot duplicate easily, unlike revolving love interests. Marlon likely cannot leave no matter how much he dislikes what's going on and just has to keep going along with the lie until the show, or his usefulness, runs its course.
Truman is stated to be the first person owned by a corporation, which lends credence to this theory.
Sure, a random spotlight falling from the sky is weird, but what if it was a person? Just a random crewman sent in to repair a light, but slipped and fell. Even if they explained it off as a tragic skydiving accident, that would severely traumatize Truman, who has never seen that kind of gore. Granted, it'd probably swear him off flying, but he'd be terrified of stepping out the door on the off chance that someone else splats right next to him.
If you really don't want Truman to ever want to leave the island, then instead of a travel agency full of scary posters of planes being hit by lightning and staffed by a dream-crusher, how about... no travel agency? It's not like every small town has one.
'Lauren' and her family had to get to Fiji somehow...
Perhaps it's a fob to Truman's natural curiosity and yearning to get away? Even despite the discouragements that he's been conditioned to accept Truman is still naturally curious and make frequent longings to get away, and the producers have to work around that; better to have a staged travel agent close by where they can use it to further his preconditioned fears about travel rather than have him look for one further afield for one and risk blowing the whole thing wide open.
The public domain movies that appear to be shown on tv in his world would certainly mention travel agencies so it would naturally be something he would try to find.
They probably included it so Truman's parents could bring him along when they "arranged" their trip to Mt. Rushmore.
Presumably, Sea Haven's only television programs, music broadcasts, movies and so forth would have to be ones that the network airing "The Truman Show" owns the rights to. So what happens if Truman starts griping about how (or worse, why) he doesn't like one of them? It'd be an involuntary Take That Me on the network's part, with their flagship character dissing their own productions!
Judging by what we briefly see of it, Seahaven programming seems to be composed mainly of old movies and fifties reruns like I Love Lucy, where this presumably wouldn't be much of an issue; who cares what Truman thinks about a show that hasn't been on air since the 1950s?
Combining this with the Fridge Brilliance entry above, They would also have to exclude any show that portrays cell phones and the Internet. Granted, that might not have been so hard in 1998, when such things were only starting to become ubiquitous, but even a small slip might get Truman wondering why people on a non-Science Fiction television show are using non-existent technology. Perhaps they only showed old reruns.
Actually, there is a lot of technology that they could show. When a cell-phone was the size of a handbag and you needed some sort of portable charger because of all the juice it sucked up... When the Internet was small and slow and sluggish and expensive... well, it's not impossible that Truman knows that cell-phones and the Internet exist. What he would have to be kept from knowing is how cheap and advanced they were becoming so he wouldn't wonder why he didn't have one, which would actually be much easier in 1998. They'd only need to back up that sort of technology to the 70s. What they DID do with the television programs, was only show the ones with aesops about how great home life and family were, to try to discourage Truman's adventurous nature.
It's specifically mentioned that the show has a budget that rivals the national budget of most small countries. With resources like that it would be very easy to have movies and TV shows custom made for the Truman universe.
I thought it was possible that The Truman Show was basically so large that it formed it's own network by the events of the movie, in which case, since this was the only thing running it wouldn't matter so much. In any case, while it might be something they want to avoid if possible, the show and Truman are so big by this point that even if this situation did show up, there's not really a lot anyone can do about it. To take one parallel, The Simpsons is constantly doing Biting-the-Hand Humor towards the Fox Network and what the producers of the show think are the crappier shows that are running on it — however, it's also one of Fox's big cash-cows, so they can get away with it. And popularity, ratings and revenue-wise Truman is apparently that on the order of several million, so even if the network executives or the producers of the other show are a bit butt-hurt by Truman slagging their show off, for them it's a case of 'tough luck, this rakes in more cash for us than you ever will, suck it up and deal with it'. It could even be reworked into some kind of 'so bad it's good', 'no publicity is bad publicity' kind of thing (see the controversial new show that Truman himself hated!). Alternatively, as mentioned above they could just buy the rights to a lot of reruns, old movies and cancelled shows, and show them, since no one's going to care if Truman hates something that's no longer in production.
Alternatively, maybe Truman just doesn't watch as much TV as we do.
Perhaps the producers deliberately engineered Truman's upbringing, so that he'd grow up in a family and an entire community where watching TV was discouraged?
Restricting Truman's viewing habits to moderate quality public domain movies and television shows programmes keeps that aspect of his life inexpensive, discourages him from spending inordinate amounts of time watching television, gives him a relatable knowledge of the real world, and deludes him into believing television isn't a powerful enough medium that something like The Truman Show would actually happen. There's also the possibility that he might compare his own life to the lives of fictional characters on TV in a positive way, thus deluding the audience into believing Truman is happy with his make-believe life.
Think of how often Reality Is Unrealistic in television. Truman on the other hand is being presented with a television world that is very much like his own. It's pleasant, it encourages family life, and yes, he doesn't spend all day watching television. How many times do you think, "I wish my life could be more like that TV life"? Truman finds that his life IS just like that happy life, and having spent all his life in a kind of paradise, who is he to argue with it being unrealistic any more than he is to argue with the size of the moon?