20 years of The Truman Show - how close are we to Jim Carrey’s nightmarish reality?
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Released 20 years ago (June 5th, 1998), The Truman Show chronicles the life of Truman Burbank to form a quintessential satire of reality television and celebrity obsession, as a striking demonstration of the power of media. Truman’s entire life has been nothing but a 24/7 running television show, with the city he lives in becoming known as a huge studio with hidden cameras and actors. Most importantly, Truman is completely oblivious to the fact that he is the star of the most popular TV show, one that is being recorded and broadcasted all over the world. Still, people tend to remember The Truman Show as a comedy – it does star the hilariously relatable Jim Carrey after all - yet, whilst it relies on some humour to carry us through the first half, Carrey’s paranoid nightmare is more a prediction of the rise of reality TV. It’s almost like a really intense Black Mirror episode. With this, it’s almost impossible not to draw some unsettling comparisons between the film and the media-orientated lives we lead today. A new medical phenomenon, The Truman Show delusion, aka Truman syndrome, was a term coined in 2008 by Joel and Ian Gold as a type of delusion in which the sufferer believes their lives are staged reality shows, or that they, much like Truman Burbank, are being watched on cameras. With over 40 recorded instances in the U.S, the U.K, and elsewhere, are we all living our own version of The Truman Show?
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