Essay About My True Friend Cast
Though The Imitation Game was largely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, much of Alan Turing’s life is shrouded in mystery. Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film, is credited as the father of computer science. He cracked codes produced by the German military’s seemingly unbreakable Enigma machine during World War II using math, engineering and still-to-be-invented computer science. But most of the documents tracing his work for the British government have been destroyed and little is known about Turing’s personal life.
Here’s what is likely truth and what is embellishment in The Imitation Game based on Alan Turing: The Enigma and the Turing Exhibition at London’s Science Museum.
Alan Turing’s first love, Christopher, died at a young age
Christopher, an older student at Sherborne School in Dorset, was also interested in math. Turing harbored feelings toward Christopher, though Turing believed his love was not reciprocated. In the movie, Turing learns of Christopher’s death after-the-fact from his headmaster. In reality, Turing had been told his friend was sick and to prepare for the worst before Christopher passed.
Christopher’s death did spur Turing to pursue mathematics in the hope that he could understand whether part of Christopher could somehow live on without his body. In the year after his death, Turing wrote an essay in which he discussed how the soul might survive after death with a nod to the new field of quantum mechanics.
Alan Turing was a closeted gay man
Alan Turing was gay at a time when homesexual activity was outlawed in England. In 1952, he was convicted of “gross indecency.” (He admitted to being gay but pled not guilty because he thought the law was unjust.) He was sentenced to probation that involved chemical castration (see more below) and committed suicide within two years with cyanide.
The filmmakers decided not to include the suicide in the movie even though they filmed the scene. Benedict Cumberbatch explained to the press at New York City’s 92Y that in the film’s last scene, “Someone [is] telling [Turing] something he never had told to him in his life: That he did matter — the fact that he was regarded as different and not normal was hugely important to the world and to everybody around him. No one had told him that in his life. So to end it on that note, with someone explaining, was our way of thanking him in the structure of the film, our eulogy to him.”
Joan Clarke is invited to Bletchley Park, the home of the government’s code breaking operation, after completing a crossword puzzle
Clarke’s professor at Oxford helped her get into the program (which was dominated by men). The crossword puzzle test scene is fictionalized, though that was a method the government did use to recruit code-crackers at the time.
Joan’s parents didn’t want her at Bletchley
In the movie, the Clarkes do not want their daughter to crack codes for the government because she is a woman, but that aspect of the film was added for dramatic tension.
Turing named the code breaking machine “Christopher”
In the film, Turing tells Clarke that he named the machine “Christopher.” (The audience knows it’s named after Turing’s first love, though Clarke doesn’t know that part.) Turing is obsessed with the idea of using a computer to engineer a human brain or even a soul, and dubbing the computer “Christopher” makes it seem as if Turing may be trying to find a way to resurrect his old love. In reality, the machine was called the Bombe and nicknamed “Victory.”
John Cairncross threatens to expose Turing’s sexuality if Turing reveals he’s a spy
In the film, Cairncross says he will tell the government Turing’s secret sexuality if Turing reveals that Caincross is a spy. The blackmail works for a while and Turing covers up for Cairnscross. In fact, the two never met. Though Cairncross was at Bletchley Park, he did not work with Turing. There were strict separations between the units. As far as historians can tell, Turing never hid spies from the government.
Turing asked Clarke to marry him
Turing and Clarke were indeed engaged for a time. And, like in the movie, they never went through with the marriage. Turing revealed his true sexuality to his fiancée and, according to Turing, Clarke was “unfazed” by the revelation.
Some critics have said the friendship and pseudo-romance between Turing and Clarke is overblown in the film. Keira Knightley, who plays Clarke, told the Huffington Post, “I think what we’re trying to get to is the essence of what it was. And at that time with Alan, to my knowledge, he didn’t have another affair, or an affair actually, with a man. His big friendship was with a woman and he did ask her to marry him.”
MORE:The History Behind Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game
The government thought Turing might be a Soviet spy
In the film, an officer interrogates Turing thinking he’s a spy and accidentally uncovers Turing’s sexuality. In reality, Turing was investigated for “gross indecency” after he reported a petty theft to the police. In his report, he concealed the fact that he was in a relationship with the possible thief. After the police pursued the charge, Turing finally submitted a five-page report admitting to his affair with a man.
Turing underwent chemical castration after his conviction
Consensual sex between two men remained illegal until 1967 in England. To avoid prison, Turing accepted treatment with estrogen, chemical castration meant to neutralize his libido. Gay men were considered a security risk to the government because they were open to blackmail, so Turing lost his security clearance. Turing died on June 7, 1954. He was found with a partly-eaten apple, and many biographers have posited it was laced with cyanide. But the autopsy found four ounces of cyanide in Turing’s stomach, suggesting he drank the poison and ate the apple to make the experience more palatable.
Some have suggested Apple’s symbol, the apple, is a tribute to Turing, though Steve Jobs denied this connection on multiple occasions.
MORE: Review: The Imitation Game: Dancing With Dr. Strange
The Truman Show is a 1998 American satiricalscience fiction film directed by Peter Weir, produced by Scott Rudin, Andrew Niccol, Edward S. Feldman, and Adam Schroeder, and written by Niccol. The film stars Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, adopted and raised by a corporation inside a simulated television show revolving around his life, until he discovers it and decides to escape; additional roles are provided by Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Ed Harris, and Brian Delate.
The Truman Show was originally a spec script by Niccol, inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Special Service". Unlike the finished product, it was more of a science-fictionthriller, with the story set in New York City. Scott Rudin purchased the script, and set up production at Paramount Pictures. Brian De Palma was to direct before Weir signed as director, making the film for $60 million—$20 million less than the original estimate. Niccol rewrote the script while the crew was waiting for Carrey to sign. The majority of filming took place at Seaside, Florida, a master-planned community located in the Florida Panhandle.
The film was a financial success, debuting to critical acclaim, and earned numerous nominations at the 71st Academy Awards, 56th Golden Globe Awards, 52nd British Academy Film Awards and The Saturn Awards. The Truman Show has been analyzed as a thesis on Christianity, metaphilosophy, simulated reality, existentialism and reality television.
Truman Burbank is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program which is broadcast live around the clock and across the globe. His entire life has taken place within a giant arcological dome in Hollywood, fashioned to create the seaside town of Seahaven Island, and equipped with thousands of cameras to monitor all aspects of Truman's life. All of Seahaven's residents are actors, either acting out a script or repeating lines fed to them by the show's creator and executive producer, Christof, who seeks to capture Truman's real emotion and human behavior, give audiences a relatable everyman, and protect him from the outside world with a sense of normalcy.
The producers discouraged Truman from wanting to travel beyond Seahaven by instilling him with aquaphobia through the "death" of his TV father in a boating "accident", and by constantly broadcasting and printing messages of the dangers of traveling. Despite Christof's control, Truman manages to act in unexpected ways. During his college years, Truman was intended to fall in love with and marry co-student Meryl, but he fell in love with another actress, Sylvia. Sylvia managed to bring Truman out of the sight of cameras long enough to warn him that his reality is fake before she was taken away, with her "father" claiming they are traveling to Fiji. While Truman went on to marry Meryl, he continues to fantasize about Sylvia, using scraps from magazines to recreate her face in secret, and seeks travel to Fiji. Outside of the show, Sylvia has become part of a "Free Truman" campaign that demands the end of the show.
The film begins during the thirtieth year of the show. While pursuing his daily routines, Truman notices unusual events that seem centered on him (a falling spotlight, rain that only falls on him, a radio channel that precisely describes his movements). Truman spots a disheveled man and recognizes him as his father, who had snuck back into the set, but other actors quickly drag the man away. Despite efforts by Meryl and Truman's best friend Marlon to reassure Truman, Truman becomes even more suspicious about his life. One day, he takes Meryl by surprise by going on an impromptu road trip, but their way is blocked by apparent and increasingly implausible emergencies. Meryl begins to break down from the stress; during an argument with Truman, she breaks character. Truman, depressed and confused, is consoled by Marlon, and Christof takes the opportunity to re-introduce Truman's father to the show properly, under the guise of having lost his memory after the boating accident, in the hope of bringing Truman back to emotional stability and a controllable state. Christof arranges for Meryl to leave the show and adds a colleague at Truman's insurance agency who is intended to be his next partner.
Truman seems to return to his routines, except that after Meryl moves out he begins sleeping in his basement. One evening the production staff discovers that the sleeping Truman is completely out of their sight. Marlon is sent to check on Truman, finding that he has left a dummy (and a tape recorder) in his place and disappeared through a makeshift tunnel. Marlon breaks character, and Christof orders the first transmission cut in the show's history while a citywide search for Truman is launched, going to such extreme measures as causing the artificial sun to rise hours ahead of schedule. Audiences around the world are drawn to this sudden change. Truman is found sailing out of Seahaven, having conquered his fear of water, and Christof resumes the broadcast as he sends a man-made lightning storm to try to capsize the boat. Network executives fear that Truman may die on live television, but Truman manages to persist. Realizing he cannot dissuade Truman any further, Christof ends the storm.
Truman continues to sail until – to his surprise – his boat punctures the wall of the dome. He finds an exit door, but Christof, speaking directly to Truman through a speaker system, tries to convince him to stay, stating there is "no more truth" in the real world and "I know you better than you know yourself", that he brings comfort to his audience and that by staying in his artificial world, he would have nothing to fear. Truman considers this, then states: "In case I don't see you... good afternoon, good evening, and good night," previously his unwitting catch-phrase, takes a bow, and leaves. As the viewing audience celebrates Truman's escape, Sylvia races to meet Truman, while Christof's supervisors end the show for the last time. With the show off the air, the audience starts looking for something else to watch.
- Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank: Chosen out of six unwanted pregnancies and the first child to be legally adopted by a corporation, Truman is unaware that his daily life is broadcast continuously around the world. He has a job in the insurance business and a lovely wife, but he eventually notices that his environment is not what it seems to be. Robin Williams was considered for the role, but Weir cast Carrey after seeing him in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective because Carrey's performance reminded him of Charlie Chaplin. Carrey took the opportunity to proclaim himself as a dramatic actor, rather than being typecast in comedic roles. Carrey, who was then normally paid $20 million per film, agreed to do The Truman Show for $12 million. Carrey and Weir initially found working together on set difficult (Carrey's contract gave him the power to demand rewrites), but Weir was impressed with Carrey's improvisational skills, and the two became more interactive. The scene in which Truman declares "this planet Trumania of the Burbank galaxy" to the bathroom mirror was Carrey's idea.
- Laura Linney as Hannah Gill acting as Meryl Burbank, Truman's wife, a nurse at the local hospital. Since the show relies on product placement for revenue, Meryl regularly shows off various items she has recently "purchased", one of the many oddities that makes Truman question his life. Her role is essentially to act the part of Truman's wife and ultimately to have a child by him, despite her reluctance to accomplish either. Linney heavily studied Sears catalogs from the 1950s to develop her character's poses.
- Ed Harris as Christof: The creator of The Truman Show. Christof remains dedicated to the program at all costs, often overseeing and directing its course in person (rather than through aides), but at the climax/resolution, he speaks to Truman over a loudspeaker, revealing the nature of Truman's situation. Dennis Hopper was originally cast in the role, but he left in April 1997 (during filming) over "creative differences". Harris was a last-minute replacement. A number of other actors had turned down the role after Hopper's departure. Harris considered making Christof a hunchback, but Weir did not like the idea.
- Noah Emmerich as Louis Coltrane playing Marlon, Truman's best friend since early childhood. Marlon is a vending machine operator for the company Goodies, who promises Truman he would never lie to him, despite the latest events in Truman's life. Emmerich has said, "My character is in a lot of pain. He feels really guilty about deceiving Truman. He's had a serious drug addiction for many years. Been in and out of rehab." Very little of this is shown in the finished film, but several deleted scenes depict Louis actively expressing guilt over Truman's situation, and in one sequence he spots Truman during his escape and purposely says nothing. His name is an amalgam of two jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane, and in one scene he plays trumpet.
- Natascha McElhone as Sylvia playing Lauren Garland (Truman's college schoolmate): Sylvia was hired to play a background extra, a fellow student at Truman's college, named Lauren. She became romantically involved with Truman and tried to reveal to him the truth about his life, but was thrown out of the show before she could do so. She then becomes a protester against The Truman Show, urging Christof to release its lead.
- Brian Delate as Walter Moore playing Kirk Burbank, Truman's father. When Truman was a boy, his character on the show was killed off to instill a fear of water in his son that would prevent Truman from leaving the set; however, he sneaks back onto the set when Truman is an adult. This causes Truman to begin questioning his staged life, and as he tries to get away from it the writers are forced to write a plot in which Kirk had not drowned but had suffered from amnesia.
- Holland Taylor as Alanis Montclair playing Angela Burbank, Truman's mother: Christof orders that she attempt to persuade Truman to have children.
- Paul Giamatti as Simeon (control room director). Though second-in-command at the lunar room, he is conflicted when ordered to attempt to kill Truman via storm.
- Peter Krause as Laurence (Truman's boss): At Truman's office, Laurence often interrupts Truman when he talks about his dreams of moving to Fiji.
Andrew Niccol completed a one-page film treatment titled The Malcolm Show in May 1991. The original draft was more in tone of a science fiction thriller, with the story set in New York City. Niccol stated, "I think everyone questions the authenticity of their lives at certain points. It's like when kids ask if they're adopted." In the fall of 1993, producer Scott Rudin purchased the script for slightly over $1 million. Paramount Pictures instantly agreed to distribute. Part of the deal called for Niccol to have his directing debut, though Paramount felt the estimated $80 million budget would be too high for him. In addition, Paramount wanted to go with an A-list director, paying Niccol extra money "to step aside". Brian De Palma was under negotiations to direct before he left United Talent Agency in March 1994. Directors who were considered after De Palma's departure included Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Barry Sonnenfeld and Steven Spielberg before Peter Weir signed on in early 1995, following a recommendation of Niccol.Bryan Singer wanted to direct but Paramount decided to go with the more experienced Weir.
Weir wanted the film to be funnier, feeling that Niccol's script was too dark, and declaring "where he [Niccol] had it depressing, I could make it light. It could convince audiences they could watch a show in this scope 24/7." Niccol wrote sixteen drafts of the script before Weir considered the script ready for filming. Later on in 1995, Jim Carrey signed to star, but because of commitments with The Cable Guy and Liar Liar, he would not be ready to start filming for at least another year. Weir felt Carrey was perfect for the role and opted to wait for another year rather than recast the role. Niccol rewrote the script twelve times, while Weir created a fictionalized book about the show's history. He envisioned backstories for the characters and encouraged actors to do the same.
Weir scouted locations in Eastern Florida but was unsatisfied with the landscapes. Sound stages at Universal Studios were reserved for the story's setting of Seahaven before Weir's wife introduced him to Seaside, Florida, a "master-planned community" located in the Florida Panhandle. Pre-production offices were immediately opened in Seaside, where the majority of filming took place. Other scenes were shot at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California.Norman Rockwell paintings and 1960s postcards were used as inspiration for the film's design. Weir, Peter Biziou and Dennis Gassner researched surveillance techniques for certain shots.
The overall look was influenced by television images, particularly commercials: Many shots have characters leaning into the lens with their eyeballs wide open, and the interior scenes are heavily lit, because Weir wanted to remind viewers that "in this world, everything was for sale". Those involved in visual effects work found the film somewhat difficult to make, because 1997 was the year many visual effects companies were trying to convert to computer-generated imagery. CGI was used to create the upper halves of some of the larger buildings in the film's downtown set. Craig Barron, one of the effects supervisors, said that these digital models did not have to look as detailed and weathered as they normally would in a film because of the artificial look of the entire town, although they did imitate slight blemishes found in the physical buildings.
Main article: The Truman Show: Music from the Motion Picture
Benson Y. Parkinson of the Association for Mormon Letters noted that Christof represented Jesus as an "off-Christ" ("Christ-off") or Antichrist, comparing the megalomaniacal Hollywood producer to Lucifer. The conversation between Truman and Marlon at the bridge can be compared to one between Moses and God in the Book of Exodus.
In C.S. Lewis and Narnia for Dummies by Rich Wagner, Christof is compared with Screwtape, the eponymous character of The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
"This was a dangerous film to make because it couldn't happen. How ironic."
In 2008, Popular Mechanics named The Truman Show as one of the 10 most prophetic science fiction films. Journalist Erik Sofge argued that the story reflects the falseness of reality television. "Truman simply lives, and the show's popularity is its straightforward voyeurism. And, like Big Brother, Survivor, and every other reality show on the air, none of his environment is actually real." He deemed it an eerie coincidence that Big Brother made its debut a year after the film's release, and he also compared the film to the 2003 program The Joe Schmo Show: "Unlike Truman, Matt Gould could see the cameras, but all of the other contestants were paid actors, playing the part of various reality-show stereotypes. While Matt eventually got all of the prizes in the rigged contest, the show's central running joke was in the same existential ballpark as The Truman Show." Weir declared, "There has always been this question: Is the audience getting dumber? Or are we filmmakers patronizing them? Is this what they want? Or is this what we're giving them? But the public went to my film in large numbers. And that has to be encouraging."
Ronald Bishop's paper in the Journal of Communication Enquiry suggests The Truman Show showcased the power of the media. Truman's life inspires audiences around the world, meaning their lives are controlled by his. Bishop commented, "In the end, the power of the media is affirmed rather than challenged. In the spirit of Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony, these films and television programs co-opt our enchantment (and disenchantment) with the media and sell it back to us."
Simone Knox, in her essay "Reading The Truman Show inside out" argues that the film itself tries to blur the objective perspective and the show-within-the-film. Knox also draws a floor plan of the camera angles of the first scene.
An essay published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis analyzed Truman as
[A] prototypical adolescent at the beginning of the movie. He feels trapped into a familial and social world to which he tries to conform while being unable to entirely identify with it, believing that he has no other choice (other than through the fantasy of fleeing to a far-way island). Eventually, Truman gains sufficient awareness of his condition to "leave home"—developing a more mature and authentic identity as a man, leaving his child-self behind and becoming a True-man.
Parallels can be drawn from Thomas More's 1516 book Utopia, in which More describes an island with only one entrance and only one exit. Only those who belonged to this island knew how to navigate their way through the treacherous openings safely and unharmed. This situation is similar to The Truman Show because there are limited entryways into the world that Truman knows. Truman does not belong to this utopia into which he has been implanted, and childhood trauma rendered him frightened of the prospect of ever leaving this small community. Utopian models of the past tended to be full of like-minded individuals who shared much in common, comparable to More's Utopia and real-life groups such as the Shakers and the Oneida Community. It is clear that the people in Truman's world are like-minded in their common effort to keep him oblivious to reality. The suburban "picket fence" appearance of the show's set is reminiscent of the "American Dream" of the 1950s. The "American Dream" concept in Truman's world serves as an attempt to keep him happy and ignorant.
The film's theatrical release date was originally set for August 8, 1997, but Paramount Pictures pushed it back to November 14, 1997. That was changed to early 1998 and eventually summer 1998.NBC purchased broadcast rights in December 1997, roughly eight months before the film's release. In March 2000, Turner Broadcasting System purchased the rights and now often airs the film on TBS.
The Truman Show received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 94%, based on 125 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10, with the site's critical consensus reading, "A funny, tender, and thought-provoking film, The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 30 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
Giving the film a perfect four star score, Roger Ebert compared it to Forrest Gump, claiming that the film had a right balance of comedy and drama. He was also impressed with Jim Carrey's dramatic performance.Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "The Truman Show is emotionally involving without losing the ability to raise sharp satiric questions as well as get numerous laughs. The rare film that is disturbing despite working beautifully within standard industry norms." He would name it the best movie of 1998. In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Truman one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
James Berardinelli liked the film's approach of "not being the casual summer blockbuster with special effects", and he likened Carrey's "[charismatic], understated and effective" performance to those of Tom Hanks and James Stewart.Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote, "Undeniably provocative and reasonably entertaining, The Truman Show is one of those high-concept movies whose concept is both clever and dumb."Tom Meek of Film Threat said the film was not funny enough but still found "something rewarding in its quirky demeanor".
At the 71st Academy Awards, The Truman Show was nominated for three awards but did not win in any category. Peter Weir received the nomination for Best Director, while Ed Harris was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Andrew Niccol was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Many believed Carrey would be nominated for Best Actor, as well as the film itself for Best Picture, but both were not. In addition, The Truman Show earned nominations at the Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Weir for Best Director – Motion Picture and Niccol for (Screenplay). Jim Carrey and Ed Harris both won Golden Globes as Best Actor – Drama and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, as did Burkhard Dallwitz and Philip Glass for Best Original Score.
At the 52nd British Academy Film Awards, Weir (Direction), Niccol (Original Screenplay) and Dennis Gassner (Production Design) received awards. In addition, the film was nominated for Best Film and Best Visual Effects. Harris was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and Peter Biziou was nominated for Best Cinematography.The Truman Show was a success at The Saturn Awards, where it won the Best Fantasy Film and the Best Writing (Niccol). Carrey (Best Actor), Harris (Best Supporting Actor) and Weir (Direction) also received nominations. Finally, the film won speculative fiction's Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
The Truman Show delusion
Main article: The Truman Show delusion
Joel Gold, a psychiatrist at the Bellevue Hospital Center, revealed that by 2008, he had met five patients with schizophrenia (and heard of another twelve) who believed their lives were reality television shows. Gold named the syndrome "The Truman Show delusion" after the film and attributed the delusion to a world that had become hungry for publicity.
Gold stated that some patients were rendered happy by their disease, while "others were tormented". One traveled to New York to check whether the World Trade Center had actually fallen—believing the 9/11 attacks to be an elaborate plot twist in his personal storyline. Another came to climb the Statue of Liberty, believing that he would be reunited with his high school girlfriend at the top and finally be released from the show.
In August 2008, the British Journal of Psychiatry reported similar cases in the United Kingdom. The delusion has informally been referred to as "Truman syndrome", according to an Associated Press story from 2008.
After hearing about the condition, Andrew Niccol, writer of The Truman Show, said, "You know you've made it when you have a disease named after you."
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- ^Steinberg, Don (September 23, 2011). "Films Inspired by Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" – Snapshot". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- ^ abcdefghSvetkey, Benjamin (June 5, 1998). "The Truman Pro". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 16, 2008.
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- ^ abcdHow's It Going to End? The Making of The Truman Show, Part 2(DVD). Paramount Pictures. 2005.
- ^ abcdeHow's It Going to End? The Making of The Truman Show, Part 1(DVD). Paramount Pictures. 2005.
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- ^ abFaux Finishing, the Visual Effects of The Truman Show(DVD). Paramount Pictures. 2005.
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- ^Benson Y. Parkinson. "The Truman Show (film)". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
- ^Parkinson, Benson (September 19, 2003). "The Literary Combine: Intimations of Immortality on The Truman Show". Association for Mormon Letters. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
- ^Wagner, Richard (2005). "C.S. Lewis and Narnia for Dummies": 179.
- ^Bishop, R. (2000). "Good Afternoon, Good Evening, and Good Night: The Truman Show as Media Criticism". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 24 (1): 6–18. doi:10.1177/0196859900024001002.
- ^Knox, Simone (2010). "Reading 'The Truman Show' inside out". Film Criticism. 35 (1).