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DVD - 1999
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A brother and sister are magically transported through their television set and into the black-and-white world of a 1950s sitcom called Pleasantville. Soon they affect this environment with their worldly sensibilities, and people and things slowly begin to acquire color.


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Apr 14, 2021

This isn't a favorite movie of mine, but I really like the nostalgia of it. Reese and Toby are great as brother and sister and I really liked Don Knotts as well. It's a unique throwback to the great sitcoms of the 50's like "Leave it to Beaver", "Father Knows Best", "Donna Reed" and "Patty Duke". Loved the clever mix of black and white and color.

Brilliantly conceived and impressively acted. Lots of social commentary, and I appreciate the barely concealed creepiness underneath it all. There are a few issues (so.... does noone miss the sister?) but overall it's a lovely movie. You can see why Tobey got the part for Spider-man after this.

Dec 08, 2018

Pure genius. A 50's fairy tale foreshadowing one of America's most important cultural shifts.

Nov 19, 2018

I loved this movie. As someone who (just barely) remembers the 50's and the black-and-white TV shows it satirizes, where nobody ever went to the bathroom or had sex, I found it both funny and meaningful. While it pokes a lot of fun at the 1950's, I would remind you (especially the reviewer who found it offensive) that it does address the less "pleasant" aspects of today's culture as well as the repression of the 1950s. Remember that, in what I found to be one of the most touching aspects of the movie, Reese Witherspoon's character discovered the world of learning and education in the 1950s, and chose to shed her 1990's "slut" persona and stay to pursue her education. Girls in the 1950s weren't supposed to think about sex outside of marriage, or they were told there was something wrong with them. Girls today are supposed to have sex all the time, in or outside of marriage, or they are told there is something wrong with them. I think the movie makes that point as well.

Jun 14, 2018

Gary Ross, Oscar nominated for his Dave and Big screenplays, made his directorial debut with this comedy. The cheerful '50s TV sitcom "Pleasantville" is revived in the '90s for a loyal cable audience. One devoted fan is shy suburban teen David Wagner (Tobey Maguire), who has an almost obsessive interest in the series. Living with his divorced mother (Jane Kaczmarek), David sometimes has disputes with his ultra-hip twin sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon). She wants to watch MTV just when a Pleasantville marathon is about to begin. They struggle over the remote control, and it breaks. A strange TV repairman (Don Knotts) supplies their new remote, a potent high-tech device which zaps David and Jennifer inside Pleasantville, where their new sitcom parents are businessman George Parker (William H. Macy) and wife Betty (Joan Allen). As "Bud" and "Mary Sue," the teens take up residence in a black-and-white suburbia where sex does not exist and the temperature is always 72 degrees. Life is always pleasant, books have no words, bathrooms have no toilets, married couples sleep in twin beds, the high school basketball team always wins, and nobody ever questions "The Good Life." David revels in Pleasantville's Prozac-styled peacefulness. He fits right in, but Jennifer's 1990s attitude upsets the blandness balance, painting parts of Pleasantville in "living color." Repressed desires surface, cracks appear in the '50s lifestyles, and the Pleasantville populace finds their lives changing in strange, wonderful ways. It's liberating -- but there's also a darker side. This film breaks an all-time record with more than 1700 special effects shots. Shown at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

Jun 13, 2018

Writer/director Gary Ross’ lighthearted dissection of the American Dream then and now certainly earned its Oscar nominations for art direction, costumes, and music which evoke a bygone era that never really existed. Much like an episode of "The Donna Reed Show" or "Leave it to Beaver", the imaginary citizens of Pleasantville are caught in a continuous loop of scripted happiness until David and Jennifer’s arrival turns things topsy-turvy—he teaches the local soda jerk how to innovate, she teaches mom about orgasms—and with each transgression a new dab of colour appears among the black and white giving rise to some impressive digital effects. Although there are definite allusions to McCarthyism and racial segregation as the town’s defiantly monochrome mayor rails against the “coloreds” and their evil ways, Ross keeps things light for the most part with situational humour derived from the eponymous show’s "Ozzie and Harriet" mentality: bathroom stalls contain no toilets, a double bed is viewed as an alien obscenity, and breakfast contains enough fats and sugar to kill a horse. A good-natured lampoon of the suburban fantasyland foisted by Hollywood upon a newly birthed generation of boomers which is also notable for being veteran character actor Don Knott’s last big screen appearance playing, appropriately enough, a mysterious television repairman.

Jun 12, 2018

I couldn’t get through 30 minutes of this. I don’t think Toby Maguire is an actor. Not sure about Reese Witherspoon.

Jun 17, 2017

Pleasantville is an addictive film: every viewing is better than the last time. Little wonder it has become a cult classic. We've watched the DVD several times (and originally at the theater), and it never gets old.
In the pursuit of entertainment Pleasantville of course employs stereotypes: I lived through the 1950s, and it certainly wasn't this blissfully happy. After all, this was the era of the Red Scare and nuclear saber-rattling. Even so, you can easily get on board with the total innocence at the beginning of the black & white inner story, and yet also exult as the colors begin to appear.

Apr 27, 2015

One of my all time favorite movies, with characters that grow, and find inter truths. Can watch this over, and over (and again for the soundtrack). A real pleasure.

Kelly196 Oct 16, 2014

Fun movie. Very good storyline.

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