Peter Weir’s THE TRUMAN SHOW, on its most superficial level, is a film about how our cultural obsession with the lives of others leads to the development of a television series around a person who doesn’t know they’re on a television series, let alone living their entire life on an enclosed set for said series. The beauty of THE TRUMAN SHOW ‐ as a show, not a movie ‐ is that it allows its audience unhindered access to the minutiae of Truman’s life, thus involving them in the everyday decisions, events and consequences that make up this life, further thus linking them to him emotionally in a way the medium (again, still television) has never before accomplished.
As a movie, THE TRUMAN SHOW is about stepping back, taking a look at the world around you, and learning to see between the lines at what’s really going on. Truman doesn’t just become self-aware, he becomes self-actualized, he takes his life into his own hands and [SPOILER] breaks free of his show, his life, and his fabricated world for the sake of the unknown, knowing only it is the right thing to do.
In these concepts lies a parallel between THE TRUMAN SHOW and the current era of American politics, in which after decades of relative social and economic stability, cracks in our perfect world have started to show, and beneath them a darker reality of the state of things is being revealed. Either we plumb these cracks and seek to seal them, or we ignore them and continue living in blissful ignorance. These were the same two choices Truman had when his world started (literally) crashing around him, and this is the basic point of comparison on which The Nerdwriter builds his latest essay “What THE TRUMAN SHOW Teaches Us About Politics.” It is a poetic rumination on the film as well as a powerful lesson on acceptance, denial, and the fine line between the two. Another excellent look at an excellent film from The Nerdwriter.