David Wagner is a kid whose mind is stuck in the 1950s. He's addicted to a classic 50's sitcom television show called "Pleasantville". Pleasntville is a simple place, a place where all of its citizens are swell and simple-minded folks, a place where the word "violence", and life outside of Pleasantville, is unbeknown to its inhabitants; things are perfect down in Pleasantville. One evening, the life of David and his obnoxious sister Jennifer take a bizarre turn when an eccentric repairman hand them a supposed magical remote. After a quarrel between the siblings, they inexplicably zap themselves into the world of "Pleasantville". Now, David and Jennifer must adjust to a 50s lifestyle of repressed desires and considerably different societal values while trying to find their way home. Written by
In the bowling alley scene when the elder men decide to do something about the chaos unfolding around them, a very popular black and white cinematic trick known as the "Dutch Tilt" or "Dutch Angle" - often noticed in Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock shows - was utilized. The camera is tilted to create a crooked, dark, disorienting shot emphasizing madness and discontent, thus making the viewer feel uneasy. See more »
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 »
[David is gazing admiringly at a pretty blonde girl]
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 »
The New Line logo plays in complete silence. See more »
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
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
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