Seahaven

You know something I think is interesting?

Whenever I’ve watched The Truman Show with anyone — and I’ve watched it with a few different people, several of whom had some demonstrated victim-blaming tendencies — no one has ever asked why he didn’t figure it out sooner.

No one expresses bewilderment at his gullibility or admonishes him for not seeing through it all.  No one complains that what Christof was doing to him “wasn’t that bad.”  No one argues that Truman was wrong to reject his “idyllic” life.

This despite the fact that it took until Truman was a grown married man for him to break free and escape.

This despite the fact that not even a lone rule-breaker literally telling him the truth to his face was enough to make him understand.

This fabricated world he lives in, this island town of Seahaven, is the only world he’s ever known, its actors and supporters of the system the only people he’s ever known — and it’s amazing to me that people watching this movie get that.

Maybe it’s the dramatization and physicality of having a town literally encased in a giant dome, I don’t know.

But it’s interesting to me that there are viewers willing to accept this as plausible.  Not just the set and the technology, which is ridiculous, but this idea of living in a world that’s an illusion, and not being able to quite tell that it’s an illusion, and being gaslit when you try to tell anyone about your suspicions when you actually begin to notice the cracks where something doesn’t add up.

The Truman Show isn’t a reality but what is a reality is that a lot of us have our own little Seahavens, our own Christofs, our own tensions with people loyal to Christof, who will all encourage you to believe you’re not the victim, you’re the “star.”

When confronted about his exploitation, Christof claims, “He can leave at any time.”  And I guess it’s also interesting to me that whoever wrote the script for this movie knew that’s how they talk, people like him.  “He can leave at any time.”  And then when he does try to leave, Christof tries to hunt him down and would sooner kill him than let him get away.

No one I’ve ever watched this movie with has called that a plot hole or inconsistent characterization or anything.

When you see the excuses and handwaves and justifications and distractions the actors come up with to keep Truman away from the truth, in addition to the way they’ve collaborated to condition him to be afraid of risks, to be afraid of exploration, to be afraid of drowning (as someone living on an island) — I guess when you see it spelled out like that, it’s easy to see how they were able to keep him in the dark for so long.

And when you’re the pet project of someone like Christof, the denizens of Seahaven will try to do the same to you, too.

 

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