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BC 100 - Final Paper

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submitted in BC 100 class in UP Diliman
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   Like typical Hollywood films, The Truman Show and Stranger than Fiction  featured some of the biggest actors and actresses in the film industry. Renowned comedian Jim Carrey starred in The Truman Show  as Truman Burbank, the main character in the film whose whole life is, unbeknownst to him, being televised as the world‟s most popular reality show. In most of his other films, Carrey‟s performance is always over-the-top. The characters that he has assumed are always insanely hilarious, and moviegoers love Carrey because of this. But these characters are also violent, lustful, and verbally vulgar, which make other people hesitant and even critical of watching Carrey‟s films.  But in The Truman Show , Carrey showed a completely different caliber of acting which is effective and appropriate for the film‟s theme. Carrey‟s acting shifted successfully from comedy to drama. Truman Burbank is a funny man, and it was effortless for Carrey to breathe in a sanitized kind of humor to the character. But the real challenge for him was to portray the humanization of Truman –  a man who attempts to break free from his manipulated life to be with the woman he loves. Carrey adeptly delivered a moving portrayal, and now The Truman Show  is celebrated as a provocative film that dares question the omnipotence of mass media. Also notable is Ed Harris‟s portrayal of the character Christof, the creator of “ The Truman Show ”   and the main manipulator of Truman‟s life. His a cting exposed how fame-crazed and dark Christof‟s  character was: fame- crazed because he just wouldn‟t let the star of “The Truman Show” escape from Seahaven, and dark because he thinks that real life is as pretentious and manipulative as the life he has created for Truman. The supporting actors and actresses were also brilliant. Noah Emmerich made his character Marlon believable every time he tells lies to his best friend Truman. Laura Linney as  Truman‟s wife Meryl was exceptional in the scene where she breaks down because she cannot anymore deal with Truman‟s spontaneity. Natascha McElhone as Truman‟s true love Sylvia did  justice to the bravery of his character. The extras who played as extras and avid followers of the reality show are also worth mentioning. On the other hand, Will Ferrell starred in Stranger than Fiction  as Harold Crick, a public auditor whose life is the center of a novel being written by best-selling tragedic ian Karen “Kay”  Eiffel. Ferrell‟s performance was restrained at first since his character was a solitary man in the beginning. But as Harold Crick decides to get a happy life by pursuing music and the girl he likes, Ferrell injects joy into his character, so much so that viewers of the film will feel happy that Harold Crick is finally learning to play the guitar and getting the attention of baker Ana Pascal. Ferrell further engages the audience when his character starts to seek out Kay Eiffel and ask her not to kill him in his novel. When Kay gives him the bad news that she‟s already thought of how to kill Harold, Ferrell takes the audience into a sentimental ride and makes them think if the value of life. Emma Thompson‟s portrayal of Kay Eiffel was also superb. Her character is a wasted writer who has been suffering from writer‟s block for ten years. The exhaustion of Thompson‟s character showed in her acting. Some of the film‟s comical moments also came from her.   Dustin Hoffman‟s portrayal of Professor Jules Hilbert was notable. He was the main source of humor in the film. He brilliantly acted like a smart professor. His delivery of punch lines was good, but sometimes they are full of literary jargon –  a flaw of the writer of the film. Maggie Gyllenhall as baker and tax evader Ana Pascal was also magnificent. Her acting showed how anarchic Ana is, how she doesn‟t play by the rules –  the exact opposite of Harold. The acting of Queen Latifah as Penny Escher was also effective. Her character as an assistant to a  novelist who has not written anything for 10 years needed so much sternness, and Latifah was able to deliver. Tony Hale, who played Harold‟s only friend Dave, was also notable. The Truman Show and Stranger than Fiction also have similarities and differences when it comes to their sound elements. Burkhart von Dallwitz and Phillip Glass were responsible for the musical scoring of The Truman Show . The two weaved classical music into the film. It plays every time Truman rides his car to work. A classical music was looped when Truman finally knew that for thirty years, he was unwittingly being filmed for a reality show. There were also srcinal scores from von Dallwitz and Glass. Sound effects were also dominant on the film, since the fictional Seahaven is  just a controlled television studio. Almost everything, from the humming of the birds to the splash of the sea, was artificial. The screenplay of The Truman Show  was by Andrew Niccol, and it contributed a lot to the success of the film. Niccol‟s script evoked strong emo tions that drew viewers in, and he also wrote some memorable lines. The catchiest is of course Truman‟s routine line before he goes to work, “ Good morning! And in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night! ” A line from Christof is a lso memorable because it sums up the message of the film: “ We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented  .” Another memorable line from Christof, which he uttered when Truman is about to leave Seahaven: “ Truman, there's no more truth out there than in the world I created for you –  the same lies and deceit. ”  On the other hand, Britt Daniel and Brian Reitzell was responsible for the musical score of Stranger than Fiction . Most of the music were srcinal instrumentals, and the others were contemporary punk rock music. Unlike The Truman Show , the sound effects were minimal –   artificial sounds were synchronized with the graphics that showed Harold Crick‟s mathematical  mind. Voice-overs by Kay Eiffel were also used a lot. Other than those, natural sounds were dominant in the film. The screenwriter of Stranger than Fiction  is Zach Helm. The script showed how good Helm is when it comes to writing funny lines. The scene where Professor Hilbert devised a test to determine what genre of story Harold is in was totally witty. There he asks Harold, “ Aren't you glad you're not a golem? ” The scene where Kay Eiffel and her assistant wait in the rain for a car accident happen is also amusing. Kay says, “Did you know 41% of accidents in this city occur in ti mes of inclement weather?” To which Penny retorts, “So do 90% of pneumonia.” Helm is also adept at writing romantic lines. He made Harold say more passionate versions of “I love you” such as “I want you” and “I adore you.” Although there are undeniably fan tastic lines, the narrative in general dulled as it progressed. It had such strong premise, but Helm wrote out a weak and odd, yet predictable ending. The Truman Show and Stranger than Fiction  also differed a lot when it comes to cinematography. Peter Biziou was the cinematographer of The Truman Show . Owing to the theme of the film, Biziou employed such odd came ra angles to show that Truman‟s life is recorded by  cameras hidden all over Seahaven –   from a lamp post to a trash can, from Truman‟s ring to th e buttons of his father‟s polo. Even the most traumatic point of Truman‟s life, where his father drowns in the stormy sea, was caught by a camera hidden atop their boat‟s mast. The scenes where Truman flashbacks to certain points of his life are in color blue to remind the viewers that Truman‟s life is a reality show. Seahaven is also hued with such bright saturated colors to denote the perfection of the island. The sky is impossibly blue, the grass impossibly green, the hair of Truman‟s mother impossibly  blonde.
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