The Truman Show explores one of the most interesting concepts put to screen. What happens when your whole reality is shattered, and your world crumbles before your eyes? It remains one of the most referenced movies till date, and this is why we’ve created a list of 12 movies like The Truman Show. This break to reality is the major driving point behind Truman’s experiences in this movie. Jim Carrey also gives one of his best performances as a man who slowly comes to these realizations.
Burbank is an unsuspecting star of a 24 hour reality show known as The Truman Show. It is set in a fictional town that has been staged all around his life, while using the attention this concept garners to promote and advertise products and sell advert slots, just like any other TV show. Similar to shows like Big Brother of today, except this time it’s unwillingly.
This movie is one which leaves viewers thinking intently about topics varying from privacy, surveillance and the limits and morality behind the entertainment we’re provided on our screens. If this thought provoking story is right up your alley, then here are 12 movies like The Truman Show.
List of Movies like The Truman Show
1. The Matrix (1999)
When you talk about movies that explore the feeling of escaping from a false reality, The Matrix is definitely first on the list. Released a little over a year after The Truman Show, The Matrix follows the story of Keanu Reeves’ Neo, a computer hacker who discovers that humans are trapped inside ‘The Matrix’, a simulation where humans are being used as an energy source outside of it.
The movie has been praised for its revolutionary use of fight techniques and a visual effect known as ‘bullet time’, where actions slow down while the camera goes through the scene in slow motion. Similar to movies like The Truman Show in terms of theme, The Matrix has been placed on many Greatest Films Lists.
2. Groundhog Day (1993)
Bill Murray plays TV weatherman Phil Connors in the movie Groundhog Day, who while covering the weather during Punxsutawney’s annual Groundhog Day celebration, gets trapped inside of a time loop. He has to relive the day of February 2nd until he finds a way to break out of the loop.
This movie is comparable in plot to movies like The Truman Show as you see a protagonist trying his best to break out of a false reality. It does take a less dark and sinister tone though, and is the kind of movie filled with funny and heartwarming scenes suitable for the whole family to watch.
3. Pleasantville (1998)
We are presented with another one of the films like The Truman Show in Pleasantville. Pleasantville follows two siblings who find themselves stuck in a 1950s TV show. This show is set in a small rural town, where all seems to be fine and dandy, but underneath the cracks begin to show as time goes on.
This movie was a commercial and critical success, and praised especially for its humor and twisting of well-tread tropes to serve as social commentary on the times in which they lived in. It has been compared to The Truman Show in reviews by Entertainment Weekly among others. It’s definitely a movie to watch if you really enjoyed The Truman Show.
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4. Network (1976)
Many satirical movies similar to The Truman Show, are fascinated with media and the power that the media holds over the populace. Network, which was released a couple decades before the former, also intently explores these same themes. It covers a fictional television network known as the Union Broadcasting System which has been trying to bounce back from low ratings.
Network was praised for its great acting performances across the board, by actors Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, William Holden, among others. It got a host of Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress at the 49th Academy Awards.This classic is definitely one to watch.
5. UHF (1989)
UHF is yet another satirical look into the world of television broadcasting, similar to movies like The Truman Show. The plot of this movie is centered on George Newman who takes over a small scale television station, and is able to turn its fortunes around, by making use of a number of off the wall ideas.
Despite underwhelming at the box office, UHF has since grown to become a cult classic, due to its hilarious writing and use of satire. This movie is filled with a talented cast, and if you’re looking for a movie to watch in your free time, this is the one for you.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Jim Carrey pops up on this list again in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where he plays Joel, a man who discovers that his girlfriend is going to crazy lengths to erase the memory of their relationship, and decides to retaliate by doing the same. The consequences are one which Joel begins to realize that he might not want at all.
The movie was a consensus critical success, similar to movies like The Truman Show, and was particularly praised for the unique directorial stance taken by Director Michael Gondry. It is a heartfelt and deep look at relationships and loss, one which will keep you invested and willing these individuals back into each other’s lives.
7. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Similar to movies like The Truman Show which open up the protagonist’s eyes to a new world, in Being John Malkovich, John Cusack’s Craig Schwartz is a filing clerk who discovers a portal into a whole new world. This world is the mind of actor John Malkovich, and with the help of accomplices, Craig uses this access to his benefit.
Being John Malkovich is one of the best movies from the late 90s, and has been praised for its wild concept, and not just that, but also for being able to execute this wild concept on the big screen, when most other films would miss on the landing. This movie ticks every box.
8. Vanilla Sky (2001)
Vanilla Sky is yet another mind bending in the same vein as films similar to The Truman Show, and follows the story of Tom Cruise’s David Aames, a young successful publisher whose life crumbles around him after getting into a car accident with a suicidal ex-girlfriend.
Vanilla Sky has been praised for its suspense and drama-filled plot, and especially for Tom Cruise’s performance as David Aames. It shows us how one can have everything they desire at one moment and lose it all in the next. There are lessons to be learnt all through this movie.
9. Memento (2000)
In Christopher Nolan’s Memento, we are taken for a rollercoaster ride through the mind of one man. Through a series of events and as he suffers from a rare form of memory loss, he sees the world as he knows it crumbling around him, just as in films like The Truman Show. This man is Leonard, played by Guy Pearce.
He loses his wife by way of a gruesome murder, and has to fight against his limitations to find out who his wife’s killer is. Scientists have recognized Memento as having one of the most realistic depictions of the disease known as anterograde amnesia, praising it for its realism.
10. EDtv (1999)
EDtv is another satirical look into the concept of TV, and especially reality TV shows, just as seen in movies like The Truman Show. The movie centers on a TV network known as True TV that shows audiences 24 hour coverage of an average person’s life. Due to the normal nature of Ed Pekurny’s life, they almost decide to scrap the show.
But relationship drama increases interest in the show and stops them from pulling the plug. This movie aims to examine and satirize the unnaturally voyeuristic tendency of reality television, which has in whatever way become quite normalized. It will prove to be a very fascinating watch should you decide to watch it.
11. Visoneers (2008)
Visoneers is a satirical sci-fi dark comedy directed by Jared Drake, set in a dystopian near-future, and touches on a lot of topics including freewill, free thought and corporate greed and monotony, some of these which can be found in films similar to The Truman Show.
The movie follows the story of the Jeffers Corporation and their agenda to drive out any inkling of independent thought, while disguising as a friendly corporation. The society is one in which bouts of depression are rife, as well as loneliness and stress, due to the values promoted by The Jeffers Corporation.
Also Read: Movies like Arrival
12. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Nineteen Eighty-Four is based on George Orwell’s book of the same name which has proved time and time again to have been ahead of its time, and might ultimately be the biggest inspiration behind movies like The Truman Show, and other satirical looks at themes like freedom, freewill, surveillance and the media.
The plot centers on the life of Winston Smith, a low level civil servant living in a colonized London. Smith tries his best to retain his individualism, as the powers that be try to suppress everyone’s individual thinking in favor of a hive mind mentality that keeps those at the top still at the top.
Here are a list of movies like The Truman Show that didn’t make it, which you can also check out:
- A Scanner Darkly (2006)
- Minority Report (2002)
- Equilibrium (2002)