‘Truman’, bittersweet movie celebrating life and friendship

Truman movie review
Javier Camara, Ricardo Darin, and Troilo, the dog in Truman (2015)

We are all dying.

You, me and everyone around.

Yet to become aware of your mortality even within the deep recesses of mind seems an uncomforting idea. In Truman, Cesc Gay’s critically acclaimed warm-hearted movie, the last days of a dying man are seen through a refreshing lens. Where Hollywood tropes would have us teary-eyed with grim hospital hues and chemotherapy sessions, cancer takes a backseat here as we witness camaraderie take center stage.

Truman movie review

Truman poster

Julián (Ricardo Darin) and Tomás (Javier Cámara) play childhood friends separated by decades and distance. Upon learning of Julián’s terminal illness and his refusal for chemotherapy, Tomás returns for a brief reunion to help his friend tie up loose ends in his life.

So where does the dog fit in here?

Truman is Julián’s mild-mannered dog, for whom he is anxious to find a loving home. Of everyone around Julián – his estranged wife, the faraway son, the caring cousin; he remains especially concerned about what might happen to Truman after him. In a way, he cares more about Truman’s fate than his own.

His quest to find someone to take care of his beloved dog seems harder than choosing his own coffin. In a scene, he even questions a veterinarian as to whether dogs grieve when their masters pass away.

See also: Let’s talk about love 

We may not always know what to do or say to someone who is about to die, and the movie doesn’t claim that it knows any better but the subtle way in which it explores how different people deal with death makes for an honest script.

Ricardo Darin dog
As Julián puts it, “Each person dies as best they can”.

Truman deservedly took home Goya awards, Spain’s illustrious national film awards, for Best Film, Director, Original Script, Leading Actor – Ricardo Darin and Supporting Actor – Javier Cámara.

This melancholic comedy of two men and a dog shines through with its sensitivity and devastating humor in spite of the looming death.

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