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Pleasantville (1998)

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

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Morgan Stetler ...
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Storyline

David, nerdy high school student, flees reality by watching Pleasantville - a 1950's b&w sit-com, 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

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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:

$40,568,025 (USA) (26 March 1999)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William H. Macy and Joan Allen also appeared in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) and Room (2015). See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film when David/Bud returns to his own world, his hair changes from when he is in the living room to when he is in the kitchen with his mom. 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.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Seabiscuit (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

My Blue Heaven
Written by Walter Donaldson and George Whiting
Performed by Juan García Esquivel (as Esquivel) and Juan Carlos Esquivel (as Esquivel)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Where everything is always the same.
27 January 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

The basic theme here being that the meaningful life requires breaking out of rigid, dull and conventional roles, this film's story sucks two teens back through their television set to a fictitious 1950s sitcom named "Pleasantville," where life is in gray-tones until they start breaking the rules. The self-referential notion of having characters interact with the very media which represents them has its counterpart as far back as 1924 with Buster Keaton in "Sherlock Jr.," in 1970 with a low-budget film named "The Projectionist," and in 1985 with Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo." But where the others explore the private experience of self-discovery through their enmeshment with the media, this one explores a much wider public awareness. In that sense it is a very cleaver and intelligent story, offering numerous social messages worthy of consideration.

On the downside, its message that "different" is better mostly translates into "contrary" means better, providing an "anything goes" mentality in answer to conventional values. The rules are to be broken by gratuitous sex, loud music, and cheap garish art. Not "transcending" in answer to different, but rather setting up what is conventional today as more desirable than what was conventional back then. Exchanging one convention for another is not for that reason an improvement, and the attempt to do so results in a self-congratulatory narcissism of the form: See how much more urbane and sophisticated we are than our parents were? The 1950s are set up as a straw-man, while the values of the 1990s are simply taken for granted as superior. Hence the deeper questions of change, growth and improvement, are never asked, and what we are given merely puts the past down without bringing up the present.


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