daniel cohen looks at the Jim Carrey classic …
Release Date: 1998
First Saw It: Opening weekend at the Loews theatre in Danvers, MA
What Drew Me to See It: I was in seventh grade, and like everybody else my age, I wanted to see every movie Jim Carrey was in.
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich
Before They Were Stars Appearances: A little-known actor named Paul Giamatti is listed in the credits as ‘Control Room Director.’ He’s certainly come a long way.
Thank God They Weren’t Cast: Gary Oldman was considered to star at one point. As much as I respect and love Gary Oldman as an actor, anyone else but Jim Carrey in this role is a frightening thought. He was the only choice. And as a side note, Sam Raimi almost directed instead of Peter Weir … Thank God that didn’t happen.
Director: Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poet’s Society)
The Best Performance: Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank is in my top 10 best performances of all time. With the exception of maybe Rocky Balboa, I never got so invested in a character, and it’s because of Carrey’s performance. He’s just so damn likable and determined that you simply won’t accept him not escaping his prison at the end. You hear a lot of movies described as ‘it’s the triumph of the human spirit.’ Carrey’s performance truly epitomizes this more than any other film in existence, with the exception of once again, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Carrey not getting an Oscar nomination is the biggest travesty in the history of the Academy Awards, second only to The Dark Knight being denied a Best Picture nomination in 2008.
The Supporting Scene Stealer: As much as I love Carrey’s performance, Ed Harris as the creator Christof is right up there with him (he did get nominated). The scene that really punches you in the stomach is when he justifies Truman’s television prison to the woman who tried to expose the truth to Truman years ago. What makes it so sickening is that he is so convinced he’s right.
The Moment to Remember: It’s the end of the movie. As Truman stands at the exit door, Christof desperately tries to convince him to stay in Seahaven. It’s not even about the show anymore. Christof wants to prove to the world he’s right, and that Truman prefers his cage. The music here could not be more perfect. And then suddenly everything goes silent as Truman is about to speak, and delivers what he now sees as his catchphrase … just brilliant. And then he bows and walks out. It’s one of the most powerful moments ever on film.
The Memorable Quote: Well, to piggy back on my ‘Moment to Remember,’ I got to go with, “In case I don’t see you … Good afternoon, good evening, and good night.”
The Groan Moment: When Truman goes missing and they can’t find him, they basically get the entire cast to walk around as one big mob. Alright, even if they find Truman at this point, I think he’s going to be permanently freaked out when he sees a giant mob of everybody he knows walking together in a big group at night. At that point, the show’s exposed, alright.
Why I Can’t Stop Watching It: Well, first and foremost, it predicted the future. Two years after this movie came out, Survivor went on the air and Reality TV was born. But the reason this movie sticks with me is that I’m just so invested in the character. All Truman wants to do is leave a simple town, but every single obstacle is thrown in his way. But this is a film that really made me more mature as a filmgoer. After this movie came out, I paid more attention to serious films as opposed to just seeing Adam Sandler movies on the weekends. Much like the star of this movie, I too grew up with The Truman Show.