Truman follows Julián (Ricardo Darín), a Spanish man diagnosed with terminal cancer who has decided to stop his treatment. His childhood friend Tomás (Javier Cámara) comes to visit from Canada and soon realizes that these will be the last days he will have to spend with his friend.
The two friends embark on a journey to tie up many of Julián’s loose ends, including finalizing funeral arrangements, visiting his son and finding a new home for Truman, Julián’s dog.
The Spanish film was actually released in 2015, but made its American debut earlier this month.
The movie’s plot is original, albeit absurd at times, and can be heartfelt and touching. There are some outlandish developments, such as a spontaneous afternoon trip to Amsterdam that probably should have taken a little more planning.
But the heartfelt, serious scenes are often undermined by ill-timed attempted humor that takes away from the film’s emotional core.
Underneath the poorly executed comedy, the film tackles death and mortality through Julián’s decisions, even having him decide that, when the time comes, he wants to kill himself by overdosing rather than wait for the inevitable.
“We’ll save ourselves all that damn agony at the end,” Julián says when he tells Tomás and Paula (Dolores Fonzi) of this decision.
Throughout the film, Julián’s views on death become clear: He sees it as a journey, somewhat similar to the thinking in The Discovery.
While Truman doesn’t do well emphasizing good plot elements, the film has some good aspects. It does an exceptional job showing the love that can exist between two people, doing so without the use of a romantic relationship. The bond between Tomás and Julián portrayed brilliantly by Cámara and Darín, respectively, is aided by the chemistry between the two actors.
The film stresses the importance of relationships throughout.
“The only things that matter in life are relationships,” Julián tells Tomás early in the film.
Even though Truman breaks this one cinematic trope, it upholds others, including the idea of machismo. Throughout the entire film, Julián struggles to show emotion, not wanting to appear unmasculine.
Truman is an average film that succeeds in being heartwarming and not much else. It is carried by the acting and struggles to break away from the somewhat overbearing plot.