YMMV / The Truman Show


  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Louis/Marlon just another one of Truman's captors, or does he - in stark contrast to his fellow actors - genuinely care about Truman and want to help him? While the movie provides little in the way of background for Louis and sheds no light on his motivations, his actor has suggested that Louis is deeply conflicted about what he's being asked to do and, as a result, suffers from substance abuse issues. Deleted scenes that show Louis reacting with slight bitterness to Christof's proposals for a 'spin-off' focussing on Truman's son ("So when Truman dies, we go back to the single-channel format, right?") and looking the other way for Truman after stumbling across him during his escape muddies the water further.
    • In the scene in which Truman is baring his heart to Marlon on the bridge and he begins to cry, is he crying at the words of support Marlon is telling him, or is he crying because he's already seen through the charade and now he knows that even his best friend is in on it?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Truman spends much of the movie impacted by aquaphobia. In the third act, his last attempted escape is on a sailboat, over the "ocean." Truman got awfully brave pretty quick, given that this movie ostensibly takes place over the course of several days.
    • It's simple, actually. His fear of water stemmed from him blaming himself for his father's death. Since he found out his father didn't actually die, he has no reason to fear it anymore.
  • Award Snub: After winning a Golden Globe for this film, it was assumed that Jim Carrey would at least get an Oscar nomination, but he didn't. Amazingly, it happened again the very next year, making one wonder what it will take for him to get some Academy love.
    • Just to put this in perspective, winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama is a virtual guarantee of an Oscar nomination at the very least. Carrey was only the fourth man it didn't happen for, and the last time it happened prior to him was in 1965. He was also the last such snubee, indicating that the Academy really just didn't want to nominate him.
    • The film itself was one of the most acclaimed of 1998, yet failed to receive a Best Picture nom, despite getting nods for Peter Weir's Direction and for the Script.
    • Some see Ed Harris' Best Supporting Actor loss as this, although losing to the great James Coburn softens the blow.
  • Awesome Music: all of it, though Father Kolbe's Preaching is a particularly good one.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Christof. Ed Harris's Oscar nomination is a testament of how much critics love him.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Jim Carrey (Truman) and Noah Emmerich (Louis/Marlon) met on the set of this film and went on to become good friends in Real Life - just like their characters. In fact, Carrey has even described Emmerich as his best friend. What makes this extra heartwarming is that Emmerich's character was the only actor on the show (other than Lauren/Sylvia) who did genuinely come to care for Truman - their friendship was one of the few things in Seahaven that was real.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • He Really Can Act: Jim Carrey really spread his wings here and showed he could do more than just "zany". In fact, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert publicly apologized to Carrey on their show for saying that he would never have a career when Ace Ventura was panned, although the latter had already turned the corner with Carrey with positive reviews for The Mask and Liar Liar.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Meryl, Truman's wife. True, she's in on the secret and keeps deceiving Truman even when it's clear she's on the verge of a breakdown, but when you consider her Stepford Smiler personality, her backstory detailed in the script (she took the job so she wouldn't lose her acting career altogether, being a Former Child Star), and the fact that her job involves living with, being married to, and having sex with a man she doesn't love (and who doesn't love her, as everyone's aware that he pines for Sylvia, to the point of creating a collage of her on the back of a photo of Meryl), it's hard not to feel a little sorry for her. Not to mention, she's so clearly terrified when Truman threatens her in the kitchen, and breaks down sobbing when Marlon shows up to rescue her.
  • Memetic Mutation: Truman's "What the hell are you talking about?" in response to his wife's blatant Product Placement about chocolate milk is a popular gif on message boards.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Depending on who you ask, Christof had his when he had the idea for the show, when he faked the death of Truman's father in order to give the poor kid a crippling phobia about water, or when he capsized his boat and tried to drown him. One line stands out as particularly cold:
    Producer: For God's sake, Chris! The whole world is watching. We can't have him die in front of a live audience!
    Christof: He was born in front of a live audience.
  • Nightmare Fuel: When Truman nearly drowns while trying to escape.
    • Christof is nightmare fuel unto himself, simply for how much power he wields over an entire human life. What really makes him chilling is that, despite the fact that he's mindful of the ratings, he's not Only in It for the Money at all - he's really an absurdly overprotective father figure, who is obsessed with keeping Truman "pure" and is willing to go to sociopathic and even homicidal lengths to preserve this.
  • Older Than They Think: Believe it or not, the plot of The Truman Show is borrowed from the Amazing Stories episode, "Secret Cinema".
  • Paranoia Fuel: Particularly bad is when we see Truman's best friend, someone he has known since school, manipulating him and being fed lines by the director. Then there's the part where he's looking for Truman and has childish "hide-and-seek" lines delivered in sinister fashion.
    • More broadly, the fact that if you've seen this movie, you will wonder if your life could be a similar scenario for at least a passing moment, here and there.
    • The Truman Show delusion is a documented psychiatric condition, often afflicting those with schizophrenia. It is so-called because many who report the delusion specifically relate their lives to the film. This is different from gangstalking, where people think someone is monitoring their lives on hidden cameras (and sometimes, they are right).
  • Retroactive Recognition: Paul Giamatti as one of the studio techs. Peter Krause is Truman's boss.
  • The Scrappy: Aside from Marion and Cristof and his staff, everyone in the fictional town. The fact that they don't care for him at all and seem to focus more on the fact they get paid and pretend to simply care for Truman and his well being really does bother some viewers. His "parents" seem to be a big example of this, next to "Meryl".
  • Values Resonance: There was a time when this movie's premise seemed outlandish. Now, with webcams and Reality TV, it seems much more plausible.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Though in a different way than you'd normally expect. Truman is essentially an effects-less film, but dozens of little touches exist throughout, most notably the subtle altering of a skyline to make it match the Geodome's shape. Everything looks so right that you wouldn't notice it until you were looking for it.
  • What an Idiot: Meryl, deciding to do a Product Placement while Truman is clearly starting to catch on to the masquerade and is having breakdown as a result. Made worse when she continues to do so even when Truman calls her out on it. Then again, that could be a case of a "Stick to the script or else" directive; later on, when Marlon breaks the fourth wall ("He's gone!"), Christof shits a brick and kills the feed.
  • The Woobie: Truman. By the end, he's an Iron Woobie.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheTrumanShow