Consumerism In The Truman Show

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Sir Thomas More described utopia as an ideal humanist island, where there is freedom and harmony within the community. Peter Weir in his film, The Truman Show, presented his version of utopia, a town called Seahaven. This essay will analyze the film as a critique of consumerism. The name of the city itself is, as Smicek points out, an anagram of, “as heaven,” that seems to, “replicate a saccharine of 1950 's American suburbia” (33). The main character, Truman, lives in the, “pastiche of Capra-esque small-town picket-fence America,” the suburban paradise with perfect laws, pastel-coloured homogenous Victorian-style houses with large perfectly mowed front yards and typical sedans (Swintice). The mise en scene of the film is an actual …show more content…
The film is a satire and thus the product placement is not as subtle as it would typically appear in Hollywood films but merely for the reasons of exaggeration. Meryl and other characters in the movie constantly try to sell something to the audience, “breaking the fourth wall,” as when she offers Truman a Mococoa drink saying that it contains, “all natural cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mount Nicaragua,” and, “no artificial …show more content…
Americans wanted to own the same expensive objects and do the same things as their friends or neighbors because they were worried about seeming less important socially than they were (Cambridge dictionary) and shows like, “The Truman show,” re-enforced that feeling; fictional viewers of, “The Truman show,” wanted to live a stable life the way Truman does, own the same house, eat the same food, have the same wife. The man in a bathtub that appears on several occasions throughout the film is the best example of a, “hooked audience,” as he is completely drawn into the show; the media has absolute control over him. Every move and emotion that Truman made and experienced in the show in some way or another translated straight into the bathtub man’s beahviour. He lived through Truman’s life as he slept and ate at the same time the protagonist did. “The media are powerful tools,” that are, “able to influence consumers’ sentiments and aspirations,” and that is exactly what Weir was trying to portray by filming the fictional viewers’ reaction to the show (Vanessaairie). Furthermore, the addiction is not exclusive to the man in the bathtub, we observe several examples of the society that is clearly addicted to reality television. Jim Carrey is, “tele present,” to everyone: to the two security guards that watch the show, the waitresses at the bar and all of their customers, to the crew of the actual

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