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Pleasantville (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  23 October 1998 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 96,916 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 686 user | 162 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

Two 1990s teenagers find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.

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Title: Pleasantville (1998)

Pleasantville (1998) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

David, single, lonely and not happy with his life, flees reality by watching Pleasantville - a 1950's b&w soap opera, where everything is just that... pleasant. His sister Jennifer, sexually far more active than her brother, gets in a fight with him about a very strange remote control. The remote was given to them just seconds after the TV broke, by an equally strange repair man. They suddenly find themselves in Pleasantville, as Bud and Mary-Sue Parker, completely assimilated and therefore black and white, in clothes a little different and with new parents... pleasant ones. David wants to get out of the situation as well as his sister, but whereas he tries to blend in (effortlessly, with his knowledge), she does whatever she wants to do. One event leads to the other, and suddenly there is a red rose growing in Pleasantville. The more rules are broken, the more colorful life gets in Pleasantville, USA. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pleasantville - It's Just Around the Corner See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements emphasizing sexuality, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amor a colores  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,855,063 (USA) (23 October 1998)

Gross:

£790,203 (UK) (26 March 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debut of Maggie Lawson. See more »

Goofs

The flag outside the school has 48 stars, the correct number for 1958. The one atop the fire truck has 50 stars. By 1958, it was well known that the 50-star flag would be introduced soon, and 50-star flags were available, but it still seems unlikely that an official vehicle would be flying an unofficial flag (especially since the official flag in 1959 had 48 stars until July 3rd, and 49 stars from July 4th until the end of the year). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[David is gazing admiringly at a pretty blonde girl]
David: *Hi*
[chuckles]
David: I mean, Hi. Uh, look, you probably don't think I should be asking you this. I mean, not knowing you well and all? I mean, you know, I, I, I know you, 'cause everybody knows you. I just don't know you technically. Uh, anyhow. Uh, I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but my mom's leaving town, and she's letting me borrow the car.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The New Line logo plays in complete silence. See more »

Connections

References The Honeymooners (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Sparkle of Love
Written by Robin Bissell
Performed by Robin Bissell (as Bissell), Bourgeois and Bruno Coon (as Coon)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
floored
16 February 2003 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

Some critics here are saying the movie takes itself too seriously - but I believe some people are taking it too literally. ... Saying that the topics that are addressed have no impact on society anymore, clearly misses the point. ... The 50s -- or more specifically, 50s TV -- is used as a metaphor, because of the way 50s TV portrayed life in America. ... Thematically, this movie is about "Living Life" to the fullest, whatever that means. More specifically, to live life to the fullest -- to truly feel "alive" -- you need to take the good with the bad. Sweeping things under the rug and just acting "pleasant" all the time, is no way to live. That's what Tobey McGuire's speech at the end to his "real" mother is all about. Bad things happen, it's part of life. Having passion brings with it positives and negatives -- but suppressing true feelings for the sake of "pleasantness" is an empty life. THAT is the key ... and that "issue" is everlasting to the human condition.

Another point: People fear change. This is universal from the start of time until the end of time. The film suggests that changing and growing as a society and as people -- even if scary -- is good. Just because the 50s were used as a metaphor for that, don't believe for a minute this isn't a universal issue that exists today and forever.

Another issue common for people critical of this film is the sexual issue. They say that Gary Ross is promoting sexual promiscuity, sex out of wedlock, etc... Again, I believe it misses the point. Is Ross suggesting that premarital sex is OK? Yes, and I'd agree - and I'm sure there's plenty of people who don't agree with that, and that's OK too. But, again, the sex is just part of the theme - used as a high-profile example to making the overall point about "openness" - and not suppressing one's feelings. Note that the Reese Witherspoon character was already promiscuous, and her transformation was actually something completely different.

I can't make everyone like this film - I'll just say that, on a personal note, I was so floored by this film, I had to see it again the next day. That had never happened to me before, or since. Ross' commentary goes on to speak of everything I felt about the film when I first saw it. It was great to hear that his reasons for what he did, meshed exactly with how I took it. I had to write him a letter to tell him so - another thing I'd never done before or since.

This is not a perfect film. I liked its subtlety, but then the racism correlation, and the censorship stuff, got a bit more overt. The courtroom scene at the end is a bit cliche ... and I also agree with one poster who said that, to make the point about taking the good with the bad, we should've seen a bit more about the consequences of their actions.

Those are merely nitpicks in the grand scheme of things. This is a 10 out of 10.


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