"You never see anything anyway. They always turn the camera and play music and you know, the wind blows in and the curtain moves and you don't see anything."
Two of Truman's most loyal viewers, a pair of security guards, complain that whenever Meryl and Truman become intimate, the feed cuts away to abstract imagery. This is a tongue-in-cheek moment in the film, as Weir cuts away from the scene as well in order to show the security guard's reaction. This is Weir's way of drawing his viewer's attention to the amount of power that creators of television and film are able to exercise over their audience's perception of the "truth." In addition, it is a satirical nod to the chaste American television sitcoms of the 1950s and 1960s that Weir used to imagine Seahaven Island.
"...You're just feeling bad because of what happened. You, sailing off into that storm - but I've never blamed you, Truman, and I don't blame you now."
Christof has manufactured a complex web of emotional manipulation in order to keep Truman on Seahaven Island. In this instance, Truman's mother is referring to the boat trip that took Truman's father's life. Truman's father warned his son of a storm up ahead, but Truman wanted to keep going. At that time, young Truman was fearless and curious. However, Truman's father turned out to be right about the storm and he drowned, despite Truman's attempts to save him. Christof takes advantage of Truman's generous nature here. He is afraid of the sea - not because he is afraid for his own life, but because the sea took someone very close to him. Truman has probably long since buried his guilt about that moment, but his mother, in an act of passive aggression, uses Truman's latent guilt to reignite his fear.
"Why didn't he just follow her to Fiji?"
"His mother got sick, really sick. He couldn't leave her. He's kind. Maybe he's too kind."
"I can't believe he married Meryl on the rebound."
Truman's life is subject to scrutiny from viewers all over the world - and everyone has his or her own opinion on how he should live his life. However, Truman - just like any normal individual - does not have this luxury of perspective. This quote is an indication of why so many people watch "The Truman Show." These waitresses can exercise rational judgement on a televised life that they are detached from but still relate to. This is the kind of passionless decision-making that is usually impossible for most people to exercise in their own lives.
"Look at that sunset, Truman. It's perfect...that's the Big Guy. Quite a paintbrush he's got."
Marlon says this to Truman when Truman reveals his wanderlust to his oldest friend. Christof uses the emotional ploy of emphasizing the beauty and perfection of Seahaven Island to prevent Truman from wanting to leave. However, Truman's innate curiosity ends up being more powerful than Christof's "paintbrush." This line is also a nod to the film's religious undertones. Marlon uses the phrase "big guy" which could colloquially mean "God" or some kind of omnipotent entity, but in this case, Marlon actually is referring to Christof. Christof is the big guy with an actual paintbrush - and while he has the power to create his own version of "perfect," Truman does not necessarily prescribe to his vision - partially because he has never had the opportunity to see anything else.
"I'll cross my fingers for ya."
When looking through his wedding photographs, Truman realizes that Meryl's fingers are crossed during their vows - a symbol for the fact that she doesn't mean what she is saying. The next morning, Truman indicates to her (via this line) that he knows what's going on. This is the first time that Meryl realizes something has changed within Truman and that Christof's carefully laid emotional weaponry may no longer work on him. It is also the moment that Truman decides that he is going to fight back and figure out what is really going on - he is no longer going to be so compliant.
"What about Atlantic City?"
"Oh, no. You hate to gamble."
"That's right, I do - don't I?"
"So why would you want to go there?"
"Because I never have! That's why people go places, isn't it?"
Marlon tells Truman that he has traveled everywhere but there is no reason to go, because Seahaven Island is the best place on Earth. Meryl, meanwhile, tries to talk Truman out of every place he considers going because of something he might not like about it. However, by this time, Truman is trying to break out of Seahaven Island because comfort is less important to him than having a new experience.
"...it feels like the whole world revolves around me somehow."
"It's a lot of world for one man, Truman. Are you sure that's not wishful thinking? You wishing you'd made something more of yourself."
Marlon uses this rational explanation to discredit Truman's paranoia. Meanwhile, Truman, who might sound insane in any other context, has legitimate suspicions about the irrational nature of his reality. Truman is gracious and humble, and Christof (via Marlon) takes advantage of his nature to manipulate him into thinking he might be losing his mind and experiencing delusions of grandeur. It is interesting to note that currently, there are many instances of what doctors call "The Truman Show Delusion," which is when an individual is convinced that his or her life is being televised 24/7, just like the film.
"Before we begin, I'd like to thank you on behalf of our audience for granting this exclusive interview. We know how demanding your schedule is and we all know how jealously you guard your privacy."
It is ironic that Christof, who has stripped any privacy away from Truman without his knowledge, conceals himself from the public eye. However, this irony is lost on most of "The Truman Show" viewership, who fully accept Christof's totalitarian experiment because it makes for good television. The outliers, like Sylvia, are in the minority. She has a history of trying to make people see Christof for what he really is; the cruel prison-guard who hides behind his Wizard of Oz-like veil, but even if the people believe her accusations, nobody else seems to be bothered.
"Godsake, Christof, the whole world is watching. We can't let him die in front of a live audience!"
"He was born in front of a live audience."
This is the true moment of reckoning between Christof and Truman - God and Man. Christof has done everything in his power to keep Truman entrapped - from emotional trickery to artificial, life-threatening storms. All these barriers, however, are based on the assumption that Truman wants to remain alive and likes his life on Seahaven Island enough to stay there. However, Truman reclaims power over his life because he is willing to die for freedom. In this moment, Christof is almost ready to let Truman die for the sake of television. This would likely alienate his audience, so, by the end - Christof must come down from his tower, hoping that his descent will convince Truman that only Christof knows what's best for him.
"You never had a camera inside my head."
This single statement casts a different perspective on a number of moments throughout "The Truman Show" and The Truman Show. "The Truman Show" often pre-supposes what Truman is thinking about, and illustrates these plot points with pre-cut montages. This, however, is simple presumption based on Christof's arrogant belief that he knows Truman better than he knows himself. However, Truman takes advantage of Christof's arrogance right after he is reunited with his father. To his television audience, he behaves like everything is fine, knowing that this will quell any suspicion regarding his plans. Then, when the audience and Christof least expect it, Truman escapes.
The Truman Show Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Truman Show is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The plot is very compelling. It examines the "reality" of reality entertainment on a whole new level. It comments on how we are constantly manipulated by outside forces (marketing, politicians....) in our own realities. What would happen if we...