on 23 November 2007
A brilliant film. Its a shame that a previous review thought that the characters changing from black and white to colour meant that this was advocating sexual promiscuity. In my opinion, when characters changed to colour it meant they had opened their eyes, experienced something new, widened their vision - if it was about sexual promiscuity, why wasnt Reese Witherspoons character MaryJane in colour right from the start?!! She only changes to colour when she's read - and enjoyed - a book. Thought it was absolutely beautiful, really enjoyed it, not a bad word to say. Fab fab fab.
on 23 July 2006
This film is one of my favourite films. It is one of those few films that I can watch over and over and over again
It is funny, beautiful, moving, insightful and thought provoking without being tacky, cheesy and preaching to the viewer. Also, Pleasantville is full of classic moments with an outstanding cast.
I would strongly recommend this film to anyone.
on 20 April 2001
I expected a lot from 'Pleasantville', with no less than ten excellent comments from newspapers and magazines on its cover, yet I was also somewhat wary. After all, I had watched several movies with high expectations due to Oscars, reviews etc. and been subsequently disappointed. However, on this occasion, I was not.
Pleasantville belongs to an old genre of movies - dazzling in every way. It was original, imaginative, clever, intelligent, funny and witty with stunning visual effects, great costumes and set designs - in fact, overall, it was just brilliant.
The story revolves around two modern-day teenage siblings, played expertly by Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon (who is showing great potential to be more than a teenage star). Whilst the two are fighting over what to watch on the television, they find themselves transported to the world of Maguire's favourite programme - Pleasantville.
Pleasantville, a black and white 50s series, is a world where everything is just, well, pleasant - there has never been any hatred, aggression or tears, any passionate kisses, love or sex, any flat tyres, works of art, red roses or rain. However, this all rapidly changes as Maguire and Witherspoon, in the guise of the two of the show's most popular characters - Bud and Mary-Sue - begin to spread chaos throughout the perfect town.
As they introduce things such as double beds and baths to the show, glorious Technicolor begins to creep into the monochrome world of Pleasantville.
This film is consistently funny, the funniest scenes being where the two teenagers know more than the adults - the scene in which Witherspoon teaches her mother (played excellently by Joan Allen) the facts of life, in particular, sticks in mind.
This film is also very clever and there is a definite play on racism, with signs saying 'NO COLOUREDS' appearing in shop windows, referring to the Technicoloured individuals in Pleasantville, but the term 'coloured' is definitely double-edged here.
The whole cast is superb and it is impossible to pick out an individual from the finely-tuned cast who particularly stands out, although, as usual, the versatile Reese Witherspoon gives a fantastic performance.
The subtle, yet visually stunning and magical special effects do not go amiss and teamed with the marvellous cast, costumes, set and hugely original storyline make this a fabulous movie, which deserved far more recognition than it received.
Pleasantville was brilliant in all aspects. Despite my expectations, my eyes remained glued to the screen for the two-hour duration of the film. This movie is extremely good, clean fun - they certainly don't make 'em like this anymore.
on 14 July 2000
This is a wonderful film. The black and white world of Pleasantville slowly becoming coloured is a simple but very effective idea that is here EXTREMELY well executed. The script, direction and acting easily stand out over the spectacular effects-trickery. A tiny disappointment is that the 'The Art of Pleasantville' documentary is pretty poorly produced, filmed for some reason on a shaky camcorder with far too much time devoted to an interview in which the guy wanders about his studio for ages in search of his 'special chair'. I'm not sure why this was considered worthy to include on the DVD.
on 1 October 2004
A modern day brother and sister, David and Jennifer argue over what to watch on T.V. He wants to watch his favourite show 'Pleasantville'(a black and white show set in the 1950's); she wants to watch a music show. Their argument leads to the remote control being broken at which point a mysterious repairman leaves them a new one which transports the pair to the idyllic Pleasantville. Finding themselves trapped in this monochrome world they try to fit in whilst finding a way back to reality.
The people of Pleasantville have never experienced art, rain, colour, or anything less than perfection and have no awareness of a world or life outside of their town. The arrival of the two teenagers sparks a change and gradually colour and reality start encroaching on this little town. At this point we can see the uglier side of reality developing as some of the townspeople turn against the 'coloureds' and fight against any change in their existence.
This is a wonderful film to watch. It has its magical, whimsical side whilst also managing to address the issue of prejudice. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon deliver great performances as the geeky brother and sparky sister and are a perfect foil for each other. Highly recommended
on 18 January 2013
When people ask me to name some underrated films, this always comes to mind. Even though it's rather early on in both Maguire and Witherspoon's careers, they are absolutely fantastic. Macy is absolutely superb and the rest of the cast are all good as well. The story is powerful. At the start of the film it could of gone either of two ways. A simple I got stuck in the TV/different world film or something much deeper, and to my delight it took the deeper path. The morals in this story are brilliant - be free and be happy is a lesson everyone needs to remember. I thoroughly enjoyed the return to colour, as a metaphor and as a photographic tool. It really made the film stand out as a true gem.
I highly recommend this film to anyone and I implore you to give it a chance even if you find the basic premise a little far fetched. The second half of the film is fantastic and well worth it.
on 21 May 2002
I saw this last year and I have to say it is probably my favourite film ever. The actors are the ideal people for the film and all perform brilliantly. This movie is pure fantasy and is does what a good movie should do - take you away from real-life for 2 hours and make you forget everything. This is the first film I saw with Tobey Maguire in, and he shows how good an actor he is. Other actors include Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Daniels, and a couple of other famous faces you've seen in other things (such as Riley from Buffy). The effects are fantastic, especially when half the screen is colour and the other half is black & white.
This is a fairytale movie in which none of the things you see will happen for real, and that is how it should be. An excellent movie that should get a lot more recognition and is a class apart from a lot of recent films.
Deserves 5 stars, no hesitation.
on 14 May 2016
actually like it as my mum and dad grew up in 1950,s and apparently it was very strict and they describe life back then and to be honest think sounds as strict as pleasant vile, they can,t cope with modern day life culture so create a mini pleasant ville in the house, very sweet, like this as the naive innocence is actually rather more truthful than you care to imagine
on 20 July 2016
Although heavy-handed with its metaphor at times, Pleasantville is a masterpiece with its heart in the right place. My one criticism is that, although using colour as a metaphor for social change, it fails to include a person of colour in its main cast. I appreciate that this might have made the messaging overly complex and hard to reconcile, but it's an omission that grows more noticeable over time.
That said, I wouldn't want to lose any of the main performers, all of whom do a stunning job. Jeff Daniels gives his best ever performance as Bill Johnson, and William H Macy, Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon and Joan Allen are all superb.
As well as stunning visual effects, the film has a wonderful jukebox soundtrack, and its use of art is especially moving. One to watch again and again.