The movie, The Truman Show, tells the story of a man named Truman (played by Jim Carrey) who lives his entire life in the set of a reality TV show that is cast to the entire world. The very popular hit contains his life from birth to present day and shows his genuine reaction to every day struggles and celebrations. His life is captured by over 5,000 cameras in a pretend world. The entire world just stands by to watch this 24-7 broadcast of Truman’s life. In the eyes of some, (mainly the producer, director, some viewers and payed cast members) there is no harm in doing this, and they continue to support the social experiment.
However in the eyes of others it is viewed as cruel, negative, and unethical. This social experiment would never pass in today’s society. The first ethical issue that needs to be addressed is the obvious fact that Truman is unaware of the world outside his small life and is not allowed to leave at his own decision. In reality, keeping this from Truman would be a violation of article 9 and 13 under the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). This states that a person should not be subjected to arbitrary arrest, and a person should be able to move from his country if he pleases.
With the desire to travel and the re-occurrence of a deceased character, Truman becomes suspicions of his perception of reality, and when he tried to escape his world, it is portrayed that he is not allowed to do so. The issue is resolved when Truman literally breaks through the walls of the set. A voice is heard telling him that he is a part of entertainment propaganda and he can stay in his Truman world if he wishes, but that he has been hidden from the rest of society. Truman decides to leave his jailed world and go on his own. It only took the producers extreme measures to resent him with this information, and that is wrong.
If it were up to me, Truman should have been noted long before that he had this option. This of course would have jeopardized the genuine act that Truman played that the people loved so much. The second ethical issue that is to be addressed is the role of the corporation and producers. They control the weather, the other characters and the daily events and sights that Truman experiences. Essentially they are playing God and that is not okay. Truman was adopted by an agency that puts him in a pretend world with no murder or harm.
One could argue that this is keeping him safe, but in reality it is keeping him from the real word in which he would have lived if born elsewhere. Everything that happened to him was in control of his producers. Truman does not have to opportunity to do as he truly pleases, because obstacles are thrown his direction that would be absent if not for the people behind the cameras. The third ethical break that I’d like to address is the fact that there was no indication that Truman would receive the help he needed when he was under extreme psychological stress.
He was no offered counseling or explanations of any sort as to what happened in his life. To do a study such as this one and not offer the obvious psychological help that he needed is wrong. He was hurt by the death and re-occurrence of his presumed dead father, and Truman was under harsh psychological stress when he noticed that the people in his own reality appeared to be watching him. If I were present throughout this time, I believe that Truman should have been given the opportunity to go through counseling if he wanted to. However please note that the experiment/reality show should have never gotten to the point that it was at.
There are several other things in this movie that break the ethical code. Truman was videoed and recorded without his knowledge, he was put through fake friendships, careers, love relationships, education, and much more. He was controlled by fake weather. He was not compensated for the experiment; the list goes on. I found it odd that in the movie there weren’t more characters like Lauren/Sylvia who saw this as a flawed state. However, I am fully aware that this was a movie made for views rather that a realistic “what if” scenario.
I like to conclude that those involved in the making of the show decided to keep all of this a secret from Truman for many possibly reasons. Knowing that if you spoiled to unknown to Truman you would lose your job and income, you may decide to keep your mouth shut. Another reason that I think the population in Truman’s reality would continue to keep this a surprise is because they don’t want to be the one to ruin the fun for the rest of society. If they spoil the secret to the face that everyone recognizes, they may become hated by their peers. Another alternative reason is that they may think that it is simply not their responsibility.
Although in today’s world, we do not have anything that relates directly to this world present in The Truman Show, the lives of popular celebrities are cast to the public. This is either by choice (reality TV shows) or by publicity (News). This can be viewed as both positive and negative. Starting with the negative, these people are not privileged with the privacy that normal non-celebrities have. They cannot go for a walk, grab a bite, go to the doctors or a vacation without the world looking into their business. This makes illness, charity, dating, and family relations hard to handle because there are always camera in their way.
Ethically speaking, this could put a person under deep stress knowing that society is expecting them to react a certain way, or to make certain decisions. On the positive side of the spectrum, celebrities can use this to their advantage. They can try and influence children to do better in their community, they can advertise their personal or sponsored items, they can reach out to the community if they need help, and they can start major trends. None of these things would be possible if their lives were not cast for the world to see. To be fair, there isn’t the ignorance that Truman had in the movie.
Most o7f the famous people in our society are very well aware that their lives are publicized to their community, however Truman was oblivious to this fact for his entire life up until he was married and had a steady job. In finality I’d like to conclude that I enjoyed this movie. I think that because the lead role was acted by Jim Carrey, it had a light hearted funny feeling. I took away many things from this movie; The ethical issues that are in our society are often over-looked due to entertainment and/or research and that “we accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented”.