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Year : 1998
Country : United-States

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bad_gyrl  [ 9.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

This is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen! It is incredible. The plot is simple yet inetersting. I love the imagination and the ideas in this movie. I highly recommend this movie to anybody because it fits most movie tastes.

NYCritic  [ 10.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

What a beautiful film! Pleasantville is a clever comedy that has a perfect cast that includes Joan Allen, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, and Tobey Maguire. On the surface the film is about a fighting brother and sister that are transported into a 50's sitcom ad change their world. However in depth the film is about discrimination and how changes can be paradoxical. The film is hilarious and when its not funny it is both clear and effective. The performances are superb. This film is definetly worth praise and should definetly be seen.

shanster  [ 8.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Very cute and likable, but Tobey continues to bother me. Something about his acting or maybe just his delivery always reminds me of a high school drama club.

movieadmiral  [ 6.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

It is interesting at the beginning and end, but after that it gets pretty boring. But at least Reese Witherspoon is ungodly hot!!!

kcremer  [ 9.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Very original, funny, and touching film. Tobey Maguire is a very subtle, likeable actor. Reese Witherspoon is good also as Maguire's promiscuous sister.

Jeff_Wilder  [ 9.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

One film that took a while to grow on me. But watch it a few times and you'll spot stuff you missed before. Pleasantville is a feel-good movie in the best sense of the term. The satiric parts could have been a tad more biting. But that's the only real complaint.

brandon  [ 8.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

much like "the truman show", and "gattaca" the premise of this film is wonderful .. and teeters on the edge of becoming something special, yet ironically, chooses the pleasant way out. still, a terrific film ..

babyduck  [ 9.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Visually incredible can be your only reason to go see this film. Thematically layered on so many levels it provides a great selection of metaphors to choose from. I've yet to figure out what makes the people change color though - as the application was not consistent through the film. An excellent "big screen" picture - while I have every intention of picking up the DVD when it comes out I have no doubt that the visual impact will not be as dramatic.

eric  [ 6.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

they spent more money on computer graphics than titanic for

jim  [ 7.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Great premise, talented cast, and fine special effects are undermined by an abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

MZA  [ 8.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Great on th big screen. Big-time entertainment. Better than th Oscar winners, in my ignorant (since I've not seen th Oscar winners that year) opinion. R. Witherspoon: very good.

astrosheil  [ 5.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

I was a teenager in the fifties..and yes that was the way life was portrayed. I bought into it and I was sure wrong. The black and white and color shadings are effective. The film was technically good. But I could have cared less about what happened to any of the characters.

Emmitt  [ 5.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

i like reese witherspoon , so i probably give this a higher rating than it deserves. she saved this from a total disaster

Love_Spoon  [ 9.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Pleasantville, in my opinion, doesn't get the respect it deserves as a good film. According to my experience, some people I've talked to about it either dislike the raciness of it, saying that it isn't good that the characters' lives improve because they indulge in sin (which isn't exactly the case) while others dislike the film because they just don't get what's going on. I totally loved Pleasantville, and I used it as the topic of a paper in a class about the "Eden" theme. Pleasantville is BLATANTLY Edenic. I'm going to go a little crazy here and paste that section of my paper right in here:


The film begins with an "advertisement" for a Pleasantville marathon on a cable-television channel. The viewer sees characters in their Pleasantville form, talking about such everyday phrases to the show as "Honey, Iím home" as well as the sterile bedroom (complete with twin beds rather than one large one) of Mr. And Mrs. Parker, the parents in the story. The ad is a portrayal of a well-established comfort zone, especially for David, the "Pleasantville" fan of the film. This establishes the setting for what we are about to see. It is clear within the first few minutes that no one in Pleasantville is capable of sinning, primarily because they have not the knowledge and secondly because they live in such a uncorrupted atmosphere.

Conversely, David attends high school in his urban hometown and is confronted even by his teachersí lectures with the bleakness of the "lone and dreary world":

"...Cursed is the ground for they sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eatthe herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:17-19)

It is a world where the chances of finding a lasting job are slim, let alone a career; diseases run rampant, and ozone depletion, global warming, drought, and famine abound. Even at home, divorce and strife are a constant element, but David finds his solace and restoration in TVís Pleasantville. He even seems to know every iota of minutae about the series, preparing for the TV Marathonís trivia contest.

At this point it is interesting to contemplate the very meaning of the word Eden. It has its sources in the Hebrew language and seems to denote pleasantness and gentleness.

At home and at school, David is seen as the righteous figure (of the two children) and Jennifer, his sister, is seen as the rebellious one. This is not unlike the modern perception of Adam as the righteous steward of the first family, and Eve as the one who actually rebels initially.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, And did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6)

David, then, plans to watch the Pleasantville marathon with his friends. Being broadcast simultaneously, however, is a rare MTV concert that Jennifer has plans to watch with her new boyfriend. A scuffle ensues over the remote control, and instantly, the TV Repairman arrives immediatelyó- a symbol of the direct communication between God and man enjoyed in Eden.

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the dayÖ" (Genesis 3:8)

The TV Repairman offers them a new remote control. It looks strange and wonderful, but the two siblings are desperate, so they accept. Again David and Jennifer argue over the remote control, and in the process are magically transported by the remote control into Pleasantville and transformed into two characters in the TV series. They soon realize exactly what has happened, much to the dismay of Jennifer and to the contentment of David, as he has actually entered his Eden. More than this, everything is seen in black and white. There is no color in Pleasantville.

Everything in Pleasantville is provided for them, including food, clothing, schooling, and jobs. In fact, entering the kitchen during their first morning in Pleasantville, David and Jennifer are presented with a veritable fountain of breakfast itemsó- loaves of toast, skyscrapers of pancakes, pounds of bacon, and gallons of juice. The siblings soon discover that they have no need to struggle for their subsistence.

"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food." (Genesis 2:8)

David (who is now known as Bud) goes along with the environment, somewhat enjoying the novelty of the situation. However, Jennifer (who is now known as Mary Jane) does not, feeling very discontented and uncomfortable in these new sanitary surroundings. Much of what bothers her stems from the fact that there is no conflict in Pleasantville. Every shot that the basketball team shoots goes in, even if the whole team shoots at the same time; firemen do not put out any fires, for there are noneó- they rescue cats; and, no one ever ages or gets sick.

"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever and had no end." (2 Nephi 2:21)

In the geography of Pleasantville, Elm street intersects with Main street, and vice versa. There is no apparent way out of the city.

Skip, the local heartthrob, suggests to Bud during basketball practice that he may ask his sister out on a date. Bud, knowing his sisterís rebellious nature, advises against it. However, since this goes against the very rhythms of the Pleasantville universe, things start falling apart. Skip shoots the ball and misses for the very first time.

Mary Jane, however, wastes no time in asking Skip out on a date. Bud now becomes the God figure, realizing Mary Janeís motives. He yells as the couple is on their way down the road that Mary Jane must not transgress with someone that doesnít exist (Skip). Ignoring the counsel, Skip and Mary Jane soon find themselves on "Loverís Lane." When, in turn, Skip realizes what is happening, he becomes afraid of the mere thought of transgression.

"But of the fruit of the tree which is in the idst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." (Genesis 2:4)

The next morning, Bud watches the weather before school, and everything in the forecast is for sunny weatheró- veritable garden conditions. One interesting parallel between Budís mother, Betty, and the God of Genesis was that even though Betty heard the television and knew that Bud was watching, asks him if he was watching TV just as God asks Adam "where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9)

Later, Bud and Mary Jane discuss the ramifications of her actions. Mary Jane is of an "If I donít do it, who will?" attitude while Bud warns her not to modify their universe. Bud argues, "Theyíre happy like this," but Mary Jane answers, "No, no oneís happy." The surfacing of repressed passions has a most extraordinary effect upon the citizens of Pleasantville. It makes people and their possessions change from monochrome to color. Most experience this by intimate relationships, others by becoming angry or sad, and some from falling in love with art and literature. This increase in understanding of human emotion, then, must be compared to the increase of knowledge that Adam received as well as his subsequent fall.

"And the eyes of them both were openedÖ."(Genesis 3:7)

Bud gradually accepts that things in Pleasantville have changed for good and that there was no reversing the effects of their actions. He begins to explain formerly unknown things to his peers. Answering the question, "What is outside of Pleasantville?" He answers, "Thereís some places where the road doesnít go in a circle. There are some places where the road keeps going." Neither is there any print in the books that fill the library shelves until Bud and Mary Jane start explaining the plots of the great works of literature. The great minds of Samuel Clemens and J.D. Salinger are opened up to the teenagers of Pleasantville, and words appear spontaneously on the pages as they read them.

In fact, after the series of transgression is initiated, David (after some initial hesitation) is eager to join in, even shutting off the TVó one symbol of communication between God and man. When Budís mother, Betty, finds her passions and turns chromatic, she attempts to cover the color with her gray makeup, not unlike the nakedness that Adam and Eve were ashamed of.

"And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myselfÖ." (Genesis 3:10)

The normal "Honey, Iím home!" from Budís father no longer brings the same response. Betty (a type of Eve) seems to be rebelling from the authority of her husband (Adam). Mr. Parker encourages Betty to put on makeup to cover her color. When she answers that she wonít, he yells at her as she walks out the door, "Theyíll see you!"

Transgression in general, although it enriches lifeís experiences, brings sadness, guilt, and separation. Mr. Parker goes to the town meeting to discuss the problem, while Betty doesnít. Also, in the bowling alley, the group of men tells Mr. Parker, "Youíre with us now."

People start thinking and knowing, and this is what leads to the "downfall" of Pleasantville. When one man asked his wife what she was doing, she said, "Nothing, just thinking." To combat these effects, the Mayor suggests separation of pleasant v. unpleasantó- almost like a Biblical wheat and Tares parable (Matthew 13).

Budís new girlfriend in one instance offers him berries that she picks herself, and she shows him many more. The TV (God) captures Budís attention for a brief moment and brings up all of his transgressions both verbally and on "instant replay." These include such events as Budís biting into a newly-reddened apple. Bud claims that he didnít sin (but rather that others did so first):

"The womanÖ gave me of the tree and I did eat." (Genesis 3:12)

"You donít deserve to live in this paradise," says the TV repairman from within his console. He threatens to kick them out of Pleasantville and make everything OK againó- somewhat like a combination of the expulsion story and the deluge story:

"Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of EdenÖ. (Genesis 3:23)

Forced separation between monochrome and colored people continues as the Chamber of Commerce institutes a code of conduct containing 8 Commandments, much like the 10 rudimentary commandments that Moses brought down from the mountain. (Exodus 20:1-17)

Mr. Parker visiting Bud in jail, asks, "What went wrong?" "Nothing went wrong," he answers. Bud in this moment seems to fully realize that all of the events leading up to his incarceration have been for the good of the community, even though they are against the law. This is akin to the LDS belief that Adam and Eve felt it better to pass through these hard times rather than to never know the good.

Bud and Mr. Johnson are brought before a tribunal before the mayor and Chamber of Commerce with the charge of desecrating a public building. The desecration was infact a beautiful mural depicting the struggle of the colored people up to that point. When Bud asks for a lawyer, the mayor says, "We want to keep these proceedings as pleasant as possible," denying his request. This may reflect a politically conservative attitude of restoration, inasmuch as we remember that the word "Eden" itself means "pleasant."

During the court case, Mr. Parker sits on the stand as a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Bud, in his defense, asks Mr. Parker how he feels about his wife Betty, and whether he was sad that they were apart, and whether he didnít in fact like the "New Betty" better. He admits that he does, becomes saddened at their separation, and changes from monochrome into color.

The mayor during one point becomes angry at Bud to the point that he himself changes colors. Seeing this, he runs embarrassed out of the courtroom.

By the end of the hearing, everyone has changed into colors and even appliance stores start selling color TVís. Also, people can now leave Pleasantville on the bus. Mary Jane decides to stay in the Pleasantville universe, although leaving the very city (or garden) to attend college, while Bud/David is translated back into the real world via the remote control.

"So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Genesis 3:24)

Upon returning home to the lone and dreary world, David finds his mother upset and discouraged with her situation. She is currently seeing a younger man who makes her feel older, not younger. She laments her financial and social situation, until finally David remarks, "Thereís no right house, thereís no right car."

The Last scene of the movie has Betty and Mr. Parker on a park bench. Mr. Parker asks, "So whatís going to happen now?" Betty answers, "I donít know. Do you know whatís going to happen now?" "No, I donít," says Mr. Parker. After some brief laughter, Bill is present on the bench, and he finishes, "I guess I donít either." This reflects the requirement of those in the world to "work out their own salvation" (Alma 34:37) and live life to the fullest.

(For those of you that are still reading, the books of 2 Nephi and Alma are in the LDS Book of Mormon.)

The preceding theory is by no means "what the film means," it's just one view. Please go see Pleasantville, and give it a good, honest chance to impress you. If you do, I bet you'll enjoy it.

jimting   9.0  ]
dayfornight   5.5  ]
Franc28   9.5  ]
Wizard   6.5  ]
youngg8578   5.5  ]
pianoshootis   5.5  ]
swblack   5.5  ]
scottwblack   5.5  ]
grean   7.5  ]
brian   7.0  ]
mike   9.5  ]
Corto   6.0  ]
EmperorJones   5.5  ]
Verbal   7.5  ]
DokBrowne   10.0  ]
jeff_v   6.0  ]
drew95   8.5  ]

Weighted Rating : 7.3
No. Ratings : 31
No. Reviews : 14

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Ranked by Rating
1998 19
1990's 142
All-time 668

Ranked by No. Ratings
1998 9
1990's 103
All-time 177

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