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“Truman” is an intimate portrayal of friendship

“Truman” is a film about two old friends who are seeing each other for likely the last time. Julián (Ricardo Darín) is married with kids in Canada, and flies to meet his friend Tomás (Javier Cámara) who lives in Madrid. Tomás lives with his dog, Truman, who he loves like a second son. He recently decided to stop chemotherapy treatment for his lung cancer, and is coming to terms with dying. Julián supports his friend in his decision, and they spend the next few days enjoying each other’s company.

This reserved film relies on the viewer extrapolating more meaning from the actions between these two men than they emote. Both men struggle to show each other much care, but this ultimately shows a lot of skill in Darin and Cámara’s acting. Instead of explicitly stating how he feels, Julián tries to show love for his friend by paying for everything they do during their time together. 

A lot of Tomás’ storyline follows him coming to terms with his death. He worries a lot about what will happen to his dog, Truman, after his death. At one point Tomás and Julián bring Truman to visit a couple to test the dog’s ability to integrate into their family, and Tomás almost begins to cry at the thought of his dog living on without him. Tomás lives alone with Truman, and it is clear that the relationship that he has with this dog is one of the closest relationships he has with anyone at this point in his life. 

Tomás’ experience seems to be well-considered and a realistic portrayal of what many elderly people and people who have terminal illnesses go through. A lot of the people who he interacts with express their condolences and often anger that he is stopping chemotherapy. Tomás must hear out everyone’s feelings about his decision. This repetitive experience brings to light how difficult it must be for someone who is nearing death to hear so many different people’s opinions about his or her death. 

“Truman” is beautifully filmed with many scenes nestled in the winding streets of Madrid. The shots are often close ups on characters’ faces to show their reactions to one another, and this brings out the quiet intimacy between each character. Overall, this film is a beautiful look into what is feels like to die and watch someone you love die, and it intimately portrays the love between two quiet, old friends. 

Grade: A-

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