The Truman Show (1998)

Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Andrew Niccol
Starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone

My Advice: Don't Miss It.

What could have been a comedy content to ride on the fame of its star and the strength of its concept turns instead into a disturbingly funny statement on modern life in the shadow of mass media.  Synopsis: Truman (Carrey) is the star of a TV show but doesn't know it.  Everything in his life is under the control of the show's creator, the enigmatic Christof (Harris).  First of all, it's a neat little fact that Harris has the name Christ-of and is the creator of Truman's world--but never mind that right now.  First, let's talk about Carrey--I wouldn't go so far to say that he's Oscar-worthy in this, but he's damn good.  The best I've seen him since Ace Ventura.  He actually manages to make a bridge between serious and comedic acting, much as Tom Hanks did with Big.  Linney is quite good as the long suffering "Mrs. Truman."  Emmerich is a stand-out as the actor who must "pretend" he's Truman's best friend--and you can see the lie wearing on him in subtle ways.  Ed Harris is one of those actors who always turns in a top-notch performance, this time as the beret-wearing media wizard who feelings justified in pulling Truman's strings.  Not only do we get fine performances, but the film is well-written and smart with devices that work (a concept revisited by Hollywood apparently): Plot developments are discussed in "Christof's world" and then we see them happening in "Truman's world," although they were so subtle if we hadn't been briefed ahead of time, we would have missed it.  There's been a lot of talk about how good this film is, I personally chalk it up to the lack of decent films this year--but I don't wish to detract from this movie.  It's as solid as you're probably going to get this year, and it makes a statement to boot.  See it while it's still in style.

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