Movie Review

The Truman Show

Viewer Comments
After reading these reviews I had to see it again. Going in the first time expecting a Jim Carey comedy I must have been sleeping on the symbolism of True-man and “Christ-of”. I enjoyed it much more the second time. I definitely saw the Christof character as a Satan figure this time. He created a false world for Truman. He tried to keep him away from God by giving him everything but God. He whispered his lies into the ears of his people to hold Truman. He admitted that if Truman really wanted to find the truth and it was more than just a whim no one could stop him, therefore he admits Truman’s world is a lie. Jesus tells us He is the truth and the light and to not be afraid. Christof lies, and builds fear. I believe he even goes as far as to call his false world Hell by saying “Well, say something, this is G*D D*MNED television.”

I also saw Sylvia as a prayer intercessor. She wanted to bring him truth, love and freedom and during his moment of truth while facing Christof she is shown with her hands clasped saying “Oh God please.” It was the best movie of the year without the symbolism but I enjoyed it even more the second time trying to look for deeper meaning. The meanings I found may not have been intentional but it was an enjoyable exercise never the less.

I took my 9 year old the second time and he enjoyed it also without getting anything religious from it. One warning about bringing children, take them for popcorn during the previews. My theatres showed a trailer for a movie about hostage negotiations, one about a political assassination, one about the two goofy guys from SNL doing their club night life skit, and a totally inappropriate one by MTV about a search for a college student with extreme suicidal tendencies.
—Ben Stroud, age 37
Frankly, I find the alarmist cries of calling “The Truman Show” anti-religious to be unfounded and unprovable. It is a movie about a person whose life has been controlled by a greedy control freak. Christof is the symbol of satan and our culture’s lust for all the dirt in someone’s life. Christof much like satan tried to deceive Truman into staying in his little psuedoworld by telling him that the only truth was in that pseudoworld. Truman only wanted someon to REALLY love him, and he didn’t get that in the pseudoworld.
—JH, 17
…I was hard pressed to agree that this film has any “anti-christian” intent… I think it is more “anti-media”. It is the reflection of how our lives are controlled by the media, film and television and how, if we are not careful, we all can become “Truman” in one way or another. Christof can perhaps be compared to some sort of Satan or “anti-christ” character, but I think that his refrences to being Truman’s “creator” are ment to be grandious only in his own mind. Overall, I enjoyed this film and can hardly remember any of the profanity that many seem to quote… nothing worse than one hears on a bus ride. I wouldn’t take someone under 14, not because of the language but because its content may be far to deep for a younger mind to grasp. Keep an open mind to the language, as this film is worthy of discussion.
—Jim, age 39
I think your reviewer really missed the boat on this one. This movie was the most anti-Christian, pro-atheism movie I have ever seen (it was much worse than Contact). The entire movie was a metaphor that placed Christianity in a very bad light: God manipulating our every move, killing parents on whims, striking us with lightning when we start to question the universe, hiding the truth of “humanism” from us, etc. etc. The main character is applauded and praised for trusting in himself, denying his God, life and family and escaping the ever watchful (camera) gaze of the Christian God to find the “Truth” of the Godless universe of atheism and humanism. I can’t believe your reviewer missed the thinly veiled anti-God propaganda that is the heart of this film.
—David Stephens, age 30
I went to see this movie because of the letters viewers wrote. I was so disappointed in the movie. Why did I not read any letters that said it had “profanity”? What do you consider “mild” profanity? And the last minute of the movie they said the Lords name in vain. Why did no one tell me. Profanity is profanity, any way you look at it. I would never recommend it to any of my christians friends.
—Emma Kearney, age 44
I don’t see what any of you are tlaking about when you are comparing Christoff to God. Sure he is the Creator of the show, but not of Truman. the entire point of the movie was to show the modern world that this can actually happen if we wanted to do it. maybe it already is happening. It was about how we accept the reality of the world which we are presented. Not any anti-Christian stuff. it wouldn’t bother me if there was any.
—Emma Djo, age 16
I won’t get into any of the theological discussions—but just express my utter dismay to see so many viewers downplay the foul and profane language that was used all through the movie. God’s name taken in vain, the s-word and a-word used repeatedly. If I had known that kind of language was used in the movie, I would not have attended at all, regardless of how WONDERFUL it was supposed to be. And, I am stunned to see people comment about it being a movie they can take their children to. I would be embarrassed to take my daughter to it. Is this just one more example of the “frog in the water”? As a society we have been so desensitized by the tube and other movies that we, as Christians, no longer have a decency or Godly standard by which to measure our entertainment?
—Bobbie
The Premise of the whole movie blows me away. Imagine finding out your whole life is a lie. The thing is, it was not just the actors who were guilty of putting on a false persona, it was everyone who watched “The Trueman Show.” The Whole Darn World was in on it. Everyone but Trueman knew what was going on. I can just imagine if I Found out my whole world was fake how much pain and hurt I would feel. Some people will find that out on Judgment day. What ever is on TV People tend to watch. Even if they find it sick, disgusting or against their morals. If Trueman was a real show, people would watch it. What type of Cocco did Truman drink? In some sense, our world is constantly watched by God. He does see our every move. If fact we are surrounded by a crowd of great witnesses, the saints in Heaven. They watch our every move and route and pray for us to get home. They are the protesters who would be on the Truman Liberation Front. Praying That God free us from the fake false world of Sin. Their was a Twilight Zone Episode (New Series Not Original) That had this same theme, wonder if they could’ve gotten the idea from there? MMM?
—Mark, age 27
I really enjoyed “The Truman Show” a lot and I did not find it offensive at all. I think that it was very well written and produced. I was glad to see that Jim Carey could actually be serious on film and not his usual outrageous and somewhat perverted self. It’s scary to think of your whole life being recorded without you being aware and I think this film does a good job of making the point that there is such a thing as invasion of privacy and that it does happen to people. I was a little upset with what the character “Christof” said at the end (the part about the world he created for Truman), but it does give evidence to what some of you said about Christof being an image of Satan.
—J. Tingle, age 15
I was amazed that I seemed to be the only one who noticed the theology of the Truman Show! But I happened upon these reviews and was relieved to see that I was not “thinking about things to much, and getting paranoid.” It was indeed a attack on organized religion, but I was happy to read from one of the other reviewers, that you really can turn this around on people, Christoff is like Satan and until we receive Christ we truly are in our own Truman Show! But if Christoff had gone into Truman’s little world and layed down his life for him, it would have been quite a different story now wouldn’t it have been? Please e-mail me at Shadwlands@aol.com if you would like to discuss this movie (which I must confess gave me the worst headache!!).
—S.L.
I am amazed at how many people tried to compare Christof to God and Truman to rejecting Eden. Christof never created Truman. Just like Satan, who can never create anything, Christof took what was already created and tried to play at being God. Truman’s community was never the garden of Eden because he never had free will. God gave man free will to reject paradise when He created the tree. When Truman left, he left the lie that he was living—God would never let us live a lie. It is the father of lies, Satan, that seduces us into complacency. Satan is the great deceiver, that’s why Christof has his name. Satan would never come to us with his own name, just look at how many “Messiahs” deceive the public today. They are never called by Satan’s name…
—Debra Kuyatt, age 40
I must not have been paying very close attention… I didn’t catch any anti-God themes in The Truman Show. All I saw was a very good movie that I was able to enjoy with my kids (7 and 17) and not flinch at the language or content.
—Cheryl Hein, age 39
This movie is indeed very thought provoking! I recommend that Christians see it with their minds guarded by a Biblical perspective and then seize opportunities granted by God to share this perspective with the unsaved. Here’s why I suggest that: I enjoyed most of the movie. But then towards the very end of the movie I started to doubt the love of God. I wondered if I, too, was in a deception! I did not try to hide this thought from God becaus He knows my every thought any way. I was waiting for God to speak for Himself… Then about five minutes after leaving the theater, it dawned on me that I had been deceived by the Devil (a.k.a. the father of lies). Indeed the whole world is in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19) The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4) So the door at the top of that staircase that seemingly leads to heaven in the end of the movie is like the gospel of Christ. Before being set free by Christ everyone’s life is a Truman show!!! Also, in a flash, the Holy Spirit kindly reminded me that since I got saved, I’ve been set free of many bondages and there have been so many good changes in my life that it is evident that God is good, loving, kind, mercyful… So the cold-blooded, manipulative counterfeit creator depicted in the movie was really not my God but the “god of this world.” May this deepen our compassion for the lost.
—Wendy L., age 33
I too have to add—one of the year’s best—Jim Carry at his brightest. - I do not know if anyone else heard this but- Jim Carrey states his favorite author is CS Lewis—Let’s pray he has learned from him. I found Christof—to be NOTHING like God—there is no free will—no Choice—the key element to REAL Christians. Jesus says he knocks at the door—it is our choice to answer—I agree Chrisof—is an Anti-Christ—pulling strings—making everything look so real—when everything was so fake—I thought the movie was great—agree Jim should get the Oscar for this one. This movie is different, running back and forth—in different directions—but pulling it all together. One of the year’s best if not THE Year’s best. Go see this movie and decide for yourself.
—Kimberly Jean, age 27
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie both for its originality and its lack of profanity, sex, violence, and general immorality. Although I can see the parallel between this story and man’s fall from grace, I must strongly disagree with those who think that it was intended to make a mockery of God and His provision of Eden. I have two reasons for this. First, if that was indeed the intention of the writer, creator, producer, director of the film, he/she did not do a very good job of getting that point across. Think about it: Where do the viewers fit into the picture? Who are they and why should they be in on “God's” manipulative plan? Where do the two break-ins (Silvia and Truman’s father), who tried to help Truman, fit in? Secondly, when Christof told Truman that “I created this world for you.,” Christof was lying. When God said it, God told the truth.
—AD
I have to agree with other commentors that “The Truman Show” is about man finding his true self not in his Creator, but in separation and rebellion against that Creator. Taking his allegorical name cue from none other than John Bunyan (and as pointed out by others here), the scriptwriter creates an evil creator Christof (of Christ, else why not the standard “Christoff”) who cruelly manipulates Truman (true man). Yes, Truman Burbank is the only real man in a world of phonies, but he can ultimately confirm his reality only if he rebels against his “Creator.” The film does say much that’s correct about the manipulativeness of the modern media and our willingness to let them manipulate us, but in the end the film is disturbing in its affirming the view, triumphant in Western literature since the 19th century Romantic movement, that man was made whole, not shipwrecked, by his rebellion in the Garden.
—John H., age 45
I totally enjoyed the movie. I thought it to be suprisingly “deep” for a Jim Carrey movie. I can’t understand how people are deriving some sort of hidden meaning out of it—i.e. the Adam rejecting God theory. Since when does God manipulate his children and make a “show” of their emotions. This to me was more a picture of Satan, manipulating people and fooling them into thinking that there is no way out. When Truman knew there was a way out, he took it. The truth set him free!To me, it represents the truth of God giving us our own will and unlimited potential.
—Ally G., age 33
I think the people who viewed the movie as a Christian fall-from-grace metaphor are reading way too much into the movie. Not everything in the popular media is anti-Christian.
—Lane Denson, age 25
The film is not about the pervasiveness of TV and the exploitation of persons for entertainment purposes. That is a sub-plot. That is the premise. This film is a theological statement and is an indictment against all theistic belief, i.e. the belief that God participates in the life of man on earth. The allusions are obvious. True-man is the play-thing of a wicked “Christ”of who controls every aspect of Truman’s life for his own pleasure and delight. It turns out that the first real act (and applauded act in the theater) of Truman is to leave. Rebellion against this controlling deity provides for true-man his liberation. The true man (authentic) will gain his freedom by forsaking this evil “creator” (and evil he is). This is the existentialism of a Nietsche, Sartre or Camus. Go see the movie but pay attention. Listen to the dialogue, particulary at the very end when the movie makes its statement. “I created you,” says Christof. “You are the star.” “You do not need to be afraid.” Note the stairway to heaven which allows Truman to escape. Note the darkness into which he enters when he escapes! Note Sylvia’s prayer when she is watching Truman decide whether or not to leave. Note how the movie encourages you to rejoice in Truman’s liberation from this creator. Finally, note how the movie taps into your own rebellious inclinations. Calvinists in particular should have a problem with this movie with their emphasis on the kind sovereignty of God. All Christians should have a problem with this caricature of Christian theism. But go see the movie and note the subtlety of evil. PG does not a good movie make.
—Mark R. Quanstrom
I was amazed at this movie. There is no bad language, no sarcasm to speak of, people being kind and thoughtful, a lovely plot idea that is very thought-provoking (I hadn’t thought of the Eden metaphor, but it is an interesting angle); it was so nice a movie, that I had few words to describe it! Very, very refreshing. A movie about people being nice—what a novel idea! I wondered if my preteen son would be totally bored or if he would understand the plot, but he was interested in it all, and liked it also. The story is a bit hard to follow at first for very young kids, I think. Jim Carrey was wonderful. I recommend this pretty highly. The cinematography was pretty. I’d like to see it again… I took the meaning to be that we are almost unable to discern anymore between what is true and real, and what is actually only a false surface image; and that Truman opted to discover and seek (and LIVE) truth, whether it was easy and comfortable or not; whether it was what he wanted to hear or not. That is a very Christian message, I think.
—Peggy Forrester, age 44
This is an excellent film, especially for cinematography and concept. The movie conveys meaning and story on many many levels and layers, including philosophy, theology, sociology, and even simply on the parable, allegory, satirical, and entertainment level. There are many valid ways to interpret what happen, because all of them are alluded to (both intentionally and unintentionally; that’s the beauty of it). As a Christian, I concede that the story does play off an incorrect view of God’s creation and man role, but also, indirectly, it portrays the naive faith of believers who keep their immature faith under the guise of childlike innocent faith, staying safe as actors in the (domed) “Christian” world, instead of embarking on the adventure of the real world of interacting with unbelievers, and being salt and light into the world, and discovering the fellowship of suffering with Christ. The movie motif for me: conquering fear with faith.
—DJ Chuang, age 31
As for those of you who thought Christof was supposed to be God—use your head, he *represents* God. This movie actually shows quite clearly how man’s attempts to be God are futile, vain and unsuccessful—much the way Peter Weir’s last movie, “Fearless,” did.
—Campbell Andrews, age 24
It was brilliant, finally an original film, and a fresh idea. It had everything in it that makes a great movie. It is so refreshing to see a good, clean, movie that is not on a kids level, kids would still love it thought I think. I was captivated from the start, the way the movie started was too perfect. This picture had great acting and a great script. My pic for movie of the year. Wow a PG movie winning best picture wouldn’t that be refreshing.
—Craig Cline
Truman’s world reminds me of the counterfeit life that our enemy wants us to accept, afraid or unwilling to cross over to the truth that will set us free. Christof is an anything but loving creator who controls his “world” through lies, fear, and force. Rather than present Truman as a picture of man rebelling against God, the movie better portrays Christof as man (perhaps even Lucifer) trying to set himself up as a god. Truman knows that there’s more to life than what he’s been told; something’s missing. His struggle to break free from captivity is thought-provoking and moving, and so is the thought of what lies ahead as he for the first time will be experiencing real life. We Christians would do well to remember that it’s our role to help people break free and experience abundant life—not just by escaping where they are, but by encountering the author and giver of life, Jesus Christ.
—T. Sloan
The best movie of 1998. Jim Carrey will win his first Oscar for his role in this film. Ed Harris might end up with a supporting role nomination. A great film which really makes you think. I look at Christof as the anti-Christ really. He rises up and tells Truman that he created him. But he didn't—he only adopted him because he was the unwanted child. Truman spends 30 years of his life being manipulated by the anti-Christ Christof. Eventually Truman realizes it’s all fiction and in the end he can bow out and he does. That’s one perspective. Austin and Clerkin also make good points on a Christian comparison of the film. From the secular perspective there is something else to point out. The Truman Show was a hit show for 30 years. Everybody watched it. It was the #1 show, and when its star was finished (i.e. Sienfeld) he was finished. He simply took a bow and quit. True in real world television. And when the snow appeared on the screen the viewers simply said oh well “Let’s see what else is on.” There is truth there. When one show is over we forget about the old, watch the new and let the box consume us. The box consumed Truman Show fans for 30 years (24 hours straight). Did that guy ever get out of the tub, did they ever leave the bar, and did the police ever leave the station? No! They were consumed by the box. A sequel to this movie would start with the channel being switched and another show consuming them (perhaps a spin-off show with Truman and his high school/college dream girl.) This movie is a good discussion starter for sharing the Gospel and it’s a good film in general. Two thumbs up, way up.
—Brian McClimans
Just saw the movie and I must say that it was incredible…Jim Carrey is a genius; tomorrow’s Robin Williams. Carrey’s performance has oscar nomination written all over it.
—Roy M.
I just came home from viewing the Truman Show. The first 30 minutes or so were painfully boring, but after the premise was established, the movie picked up significantly and moved to a satisfying ending. Overall, I gave it a 75-degree “thumbs up.”
—Seejay
It seems to me that this movie, in part, is about mans rejection of God. The director, Christ(of), creates an eden, for tru(e)man and he rejects paradise. Mans need to question is explored, and this is somewhat like the “fallen angel” syndrome. In spite of a perfect world, truman decides he wants more than his creator has offered him. Interesting.
—Mike Austin
I absolutely loved this film. This film is a work of pure brillance. As a Christian, I appreciated the lack of violence and perversion and a minimum of profanity so common in many other works. This is one of the few movies I have seen in my lifetime which is truly original. The film lived up to every bit of its hype. It was brilliant, moving, funny and original. A truly awe-inspiring film. May be the best movie of the decade.
—Kyle Snyder, age 18
I was glad to catch the Christian reviewer’s thoughts on this film. Surprisingly, the greater significance of the films' “meaning” either escaped the review, or was not a consideration. Christof, “Plays GOD” to TRUMAN. Truman Burbank is cast into a world that was “created” by Ed Harris’s character. The immediate correlation that occured to me after seeing the film was “We Humans cast into a world of the True GOD’s creation” ???? The irony struck me right in the face as I am a student of scripture and tend to assimilate things from an all-encompassing point of view… In the end, it is SMACKING of Adam rejecting Jehovah’s plan to keep him in “The Garden of Eden”…Adam took the forbidden fruit. Likewise, at the end of the film, when Truman was at the exit to the enormous soundstage of his “Eden”, he rejected Christof and was ejected into the “real world” outside the dome? Does this make sense to anyone else out there?
—Philip CLERKIN
I like movies that make me think. Maybe I thought too much into the Truman Show. To me, it was a twisted perversion of what Psalm 139 says about how we are known completely to God and all our days are known to Him before one of them came to be. The man in control of Truman’s life certainly had set himself up as God. The end of the movie seemed to leave the message that this is the way God really is playing games with our lives. Maybe that’s not the message intended, but it seemed loud and clear to me. I left the theater angry with the twisted view of God presented in this movie. I would give it a Christian rating of 1.
—Dennis Nelson
I was very much surprised at how well “The Truman Show” is, because in the midst of the many movies which exploit violence, language, and sexuality among big-budget special effects, this particular film is void of such nuances. Director Peter Weir gives us a sad yet sweet look at one man’s life through the lens of the television camera, yet presents a cautionary fable of how the media can usurp and even prostitute the human race for its own selfish purpose in the name of ratings. It’s one part “1984”, one part “Forrest Gump,” one part “Pinocchio”, and all heart and soul. Like the voyeuristic world who watches Truman’s every move, I found myself rooting for Truman Burbank in his desire to grow. Jim Carrey does an amazing dramatic turn twinged with sadness yet sweetness and humor that is real, not forced upon the viewer as in his previous roles. I sympathized with his plight of wanting to grow beyond what he knows and expanding his horizons to explore the world. His goal is purposeful: to leave Seahaven, the fictional town within the studio. How many of us have wanted to interact with our favorite fictional characters? But the twist is that Truman is real, his world is fictional. Ed Harris' role of Christof is pure megalomaniac from start to finish. Though he may come across with noble intentions, the lengths he will go to control Truman’s life are wrong, a twisted Gepetto who will manipulate his creation for the sake of ratings. Two key scenes reveal Christof’s dark character; I won’t describe them here if you have not seen them, but they are essential to understanding the entire film, which pays off in the very final scene for both Christof and for Truman. I found myself wanting to ask Christof, “Why?” “The Truman Show” is this year’s most original film which will leave you thinking about the world we live in and the way we perceive and actually idolize the media in its quest for success. For Truman, success is no further than looking inside his heart and soul, where real growth occurs.
—Bill Williams, age 31
I thought the movie was very thought provoking—I enjoyed it emmensely!
—Eric Whyte, age 17
Delighted with your review of Truman. I still have to wait a few more weeks before seeing it here in New Zealand. However, I know the story line well—our son Andrew wrote the screenplay! Kind regards
—Don and Barbara Niccol
The “freetruman.com” domain is owned by Paramount. This was discovered through an internic search of the domain name. The whole site is a spoof of capitalist marketing gone mad. It’s also a rather clever marketing gimmick of its own. It’s also breathtakingly cynical and distasteful.
—Doug Sirman
I enjoyed your review of “The Truman Show” (which I saw in a sneak screening) and found the film extremely compelling and thought-provoking. Looking on the Web for some more information, I also came across the official Web site at “http://trumanshow.com”, which I thought well done, and another, very unusual site called the Truman Liberation Front “http://freetruman.com”. Evidently, they are an organization against media control and are protesting the invasion of our privacy by using the Truman Burbank character played by Jim Carrey as a metaphor for our own victimizationi by media organizations. I was wondering if anyone had seen their rallies or knows anything more about this group. I haven’t heard of such protests since the release of Martin Scorcese’s “Last Temptation of Christ.” Do you know anything about this group? Evidently they already have hundreds of mambers!
—Joe Jarrell, age 33
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