Jim Carrey has held many iconic roles, but one of his most critically acclaimed is currently tearing up the HBO Max streaming charts.
One of Jim Carrey’s most popular films is doing gangbuster business on streaming services, and in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t star a blue hedgehog. Although Sonic the Hedgehog is in high demand among streaming viewers, so is Carrey’s 1998 classic The Truman Show, which has been tracking among the top ten movies on HBO Max lately. It isn’t clear exactly why the film is suddenly so popular, but it is likely due to the success of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. As people who see the film are reminded of how funny Jim Carrey is, searches for his films increase on streaming services, who in turn recommend more of his highly rated films.
The film – which Paramount Pictures dubbed the “most expensive art film ever made” with a budget of over $60 million – tells the story of Truman Burbank, who has unknowingly lived his entire life as the star of a reality show. His entire life, from the town he lives in, to the woman he is married to, is completely fake. Slowly, Truman begins to discover the truth and plans his escape from the show to regain his life. The ambitious film, directed by Peter Weir (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Mosquito Coast), worked largely because audiences bought the idea of Jim Carrey living his life oblivious to the truth, yet pulled for him to finally break free. Weir stated that Carrey was his first and only choice to play Truman, and the choice worked well.
The film remains one of the best films Jim Carrey ever made, and one of the few to get some serious Oscar attention. It was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1999: a Best Supporting Actor nod for Ed Harris (one of four he has received in his career), Best Original Screenplay (Andrew Niccol), and Best Director for Peter Weir (who lost to Steven Spielberg for Saving Private Ryan). Although it didn’t win, it was a box office smash, with over a quarter of a billion dollars in ticket sales worldwide. Truman Show mania even triggered a flood of calls to psychiatrists from people who believed they were being secretly part of a TV reality show, like Truman himself. You can see one of the most iconic lines and moments from the film below:
Critics loved The Truman Show, giving it a fantastic 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s one of the rare instances where critics held higher regard for a Jim Carrey movie than moviegoers, who only have an 89% favorable rating. Critics had high praise for Carrey’s performance, which helped him break out of the “Ace Ventura” mold that made him famous. Robin Holabird called his performance “masterful,” while Rachel Wagner called it her favorite role of Carrey’s career. As years have passed, the film has become almost prophetic in its depiction of society’s obsession with television, especially as reality TV continues to fascinate viewers.
The Truman Show was also blessed with an outstanding supporting cast. Ed Harris, as we mentioned before, earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as Christof, creator of the show and the key manipulator of Truman’s life and emotions. His final scene – in which he finally speaks directly to Jim Carrey – was an absolutely perfect ending to the crowd-pleasing film, as Truman finally broke out with his signature optimistic catchphrase “And in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.” Amazingly, Carrey and Harris never actually met during the filming of The Truman Show – they met after production wrapped.
Harris wasn’t the only standout supporting cast member. Laura Linney is fantastic as well, playing Truman’s “wife” who struggles to keep up appearances as he slowly realizes the truth. It was the role that really made her a household name, and she would go on to be nominated for three acting Oscars in her stellar career. Among the other notable actors in the cast which you’ll likely recognize is Peter Krause, who later earned three Outstanding Lead Drama Actor Emmy nominations for playing Nate in Six Feet Under. Noah Emmerich, who played Truman’s friend Marlon and shares great on-screen chemistry with Jim Carrey, is likely recognized as CDC scientist Jenner in the first season of The Walking Dead (and even cameoed in The Walking Dead: The World Beyond). Natascha McElhone, who played Lauren (the activist trying to free Truman from the show), is currently appearing as Dr. Catherine Halsey in the Paramount+ series Halo. She also had extended roles in the series Designated Survivor and Californication. Keep an eye out for future Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti, who has a small role as the control room director.
Fans were disappointed to hear that Jim Carrey recently teased that he was likely retiring from acting. He seemed serious about stepping away from acting, although he has recently softened that stance. He has since stated that another Sonic film isn’t out of the question for him, and rumors persist that he could be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon.