Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is an insurance salesman who gradually realizes that everyone around him is part of an elaborate “show,” and that every aspect of his life has been orchestrated and broadcast throughout the world. Truman’s “ideal” suburban community is an elaborate set, his wife and best friend are actors. Sponsors pay for the show by having the participants praise their products. And all of it is presided over by Christof (Ed Harris), who leans into his microphone to give direction: “Cue the sun!”
A thought-provoking story and outstanding performances (including a sensitive and subtle portrayal by Carrey) make this is a very worthwhile movie for families to watch together. Teenagers will relate to Truman’s sense (correct in this case) that he is constantly being watched, and that the world is organized around him. While the satire may be above the heads of younger children, there is a still lot to discuss. They may enjoy the clever Free Truman! web site created by Paramount to further perpetuate the illusion.
Younger school-age children will be interested by the fascination that Truman’s “real” story has for a world-wide audience with an insatiable hunger for something to watch on television, at the same time rooting for him to find a way out and wanting him to stay so they can keep watching him. Families can talk about how Truman figures out that something is wrong and whether it was fair for Christof to raise Truman that way. They can also talk to children about why television is so interesting, whether they would want to watch someone who did not know he was on television, and what Truman will think of the messier reality he finds when he leaves the set.
Families who enjoy this movie may also like “Ed TV” (not for young children) the story of a man who agrees to have his entire life broadcast on television.