Analysis and critical evaluation (ACE) assignments demonstrate your ability to analyze, evaluate and relate films to material we are reading in the course. They require that you think more deeply about the film and our readings, develop your skills at generating arguments and encourage you to think independently. For guidance on completing an ACE assignment for a film see ACE Film Guidance.
Assignment Description
This assignment has three parts.
PART 1: Watch
Watch the film The Truman Show.
Note that analyzing and evaluating a film is different than watching a film for entertainment. Make sure you watch with the intention of analyzing. It might be helpful to take notes while you watch, or note when the time of important events or dialogue.
PART 2: Write your Essay
Write an essay connecting specific ideas in the film (characters, plot points, dialogue) to specific ideas from the readings in the course that defends a thesis about those connections. See the assignment guidelines for details.

Sample Answer

Sample Answer




Analyzing “The Truman Show”: A Journey into Reality and Illusion


“The Truman Show,” directed by Peter Weir, presents a thought-provoking narrative that blurs the lines between reality and illusion. The film follows the life of Truman Burbank, a man unaware that his entire existence is part of a meticulously crafted reality TV show. By delving into the themes of free will, surveillance, and the nature of truth, “The Truman Show” challenges viewers to question the boundaries of their own realities.

Connecting Ideas: Truman’s Quest for Truth

One of the central ideas in “The Truman Show” is Truman’s quest for truth and authenticity in a world filled with deception and manipulation. As Truman begins to unravel the carefully constructed facade of his reality, he grapples with existential questions about his identity and the meaning of his existence. This theme resonates with the philosophical discussions on truth and perception found in the course readings.

Analysis of Characters and Plot Points

The character of Christof, the creator and director of “The Truman Show,” serves as a symbol of control and manipulation. His god-like presence in Truman’s life raises questions about the ethics of surveillance and the boundaries of personal freedom. By analyzing Christof’s motivations and actions, we can draw parallels to the concepts of power and authority discussed in the course materials.

Dialogue and Themes

The dialogue in “The Truman Show” is rich with symbolism and allegory, shedding light on the complexities of Truman’s internal struggle for autonomy. Through an examination of key dialogues between Truman and other characters, we can explore themes of conformity, rebellion, and the search for individual truth. These themes can be linked to the course readings on identity, society, and self-discovery.

Defending a Thesis

In crafting an essay that connects specific ideas from “The Truman Show” to the course readings, one can defend a thesis that explores the intersection of reality and illusion, free will and determinism, and the power dynamics at play in shaping our perceptions of the world. By critically evaluating the film through the lens of academic discourse, students can deepen their understanding of the complex themes presented in both the cinematic narrative and the course materials.


In conclusion, “The Truman Show” offers a compelling platform for analysis and critical evaluation, challenging viewers to confront their assumptions about truth, agency, and the nature of reality. By engaging with the film on a deeper level and drawing connections to course readings, students can enhance their analytical skills, develop nuanced arguments, and cultivate a deeper appreciation for the complexities of storytelling and philosophical inquiry.



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