My wife and I watched the movie ‘Simone’ on Thursday evening, a Peter Weir film, starring Al Pacino and Winona Rider. It was a very interesting movie, and for kicks we decided to rent ‘The Truman Show’ last night, just for some more Peter Weir. At first glance, both of the movies are interesting just for the fact that they are mirror opposites. Truman is about a real person in a fake world. Simone is about a fake person in the real world. Both are extremely fun ideas for stories. Maybe someone can help me out here, but I can’t watch either one of these movies without being convinced that Weir’s underlying commentary has to do with the creation of God and man. In Truman, the Creator of the world is a man named Christof, I don’t know if it gets more blatant than that. But the point of the story seems to be that the controlled world of Christ[of] is artificial, deceptive, and therefore ultimately malevolent. The story is about the Truman [True Man] who feels the need to escape, sees the inconsistences, and remembers a love beyond the sovereign, Hollywood world. The Christian world is a scam.
In Simone, the story is about the creation of God. Simone is the answer to a major dilemma for one man, and becomes the object of worship for millions around the world. She is a goddess and therefore incapable of doing wrong: self degredation and public humiliation only serve to heighten her beauty in the eyes of her followers. What begins as the lie of one man, is soon the lie of millions claiming they know Simone and that they are on close terms. And when her creator attempts to put her away, it becomes clear that she has taken on a sort of life of her own. Her death is impossible because the world demands a resurrection, and sure enough, her resurrection saves her creator. And as Pacino says at the end, “This is life.” God is a scam.
There are elements in both movies that seem so incredibly right, and at points, I almost thought Weir was telling the story right. But I can’t make the pieces fit together, so I’m left with the conclusion that he’s obviously a brilliant story teller, and at the same time, telling the story wrong.
Correction: While Peter Weir directed Truman Show, the connection with Simone is via the writer, Andrew Niccol, who was also the director of Simone.