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Reviews & Ratings for
Pleasantville More at IMDbPro »

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Index 676 reviews in total 

Fair Movie

Author: Daniel Alderman from Idaho, USA
20 May 1999

First off I want to comment of a few other comments I have read for this movie: "This isn't a representation of the 50s!" Pleasantville wasn't supposed to be a representation of the 50's, it was supposed to be a representation of a 50's family comedy, i.e. Leave It to Beaver. Not a very good representation, I'll admit, but neither was the Brady Bunch Movie a representation of the Brady Bunch. It's satire, folks.

"This movie has too much swearing/sex/etc!" It's 1999, and this wasn't rated 'G'. Profanity and sex were actually important to the changes that occurred in the characters, which were necessary for them to become "colored".

I, personally, think that this was a fair movie. I enjoyed watching it. I think it was a bit preachy. And there were a few annoying inconsistencies.

For instance, the people of Pleasantville, were supposed to be pleasant. The thing that made people colored, was that they had fundamentally changed in some way. If this were true, the rock throwers and book burners would have become colored simply because it shouldn't have been in their nature to do so. I point to the climax of the courtroom scene to illustrate my point.

And what about the relationship between Mrs. Parker and Mr. Johnson. Did she leave Mr. Parker? Did she simply have a fling with Mr. Johnson? I'd hoped that this question would be answered at the end of the movie. But then suddenly Mr. Parker turned into Mr. Johnson! Did they forget about this plot point? Did they suddenly realize after the first screening that they had forgotten and quickly tack on the ending? It left me confused.

Despite those few annoying things, the message of the movie was an important one, and I recommend this movie to everyone, especially young people. The story it tells has a moral that everyone should understand. Intolerance and resistance to change are impediments to life and should be avoided at all costs.

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The Colors of Pleasantville

Author: bigben-3 from Los Angeles
17 May 1999

While some of us may find this movie quite boring, I've considered this film as one of the best. Performances of such talented actors proved that this film is beyond ordinary. The cast delivers a stand out performances. The "black and white" visual effects, and the "black and white - color" combinations made this film unique and a classic of the present time. All this contributes to one of the many colors of Pleasantville

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More beneath the surface than you think.

Author: Rid.X
16 May 1999

Everything that has been said about this film is pretty much true. It is a visually-stunning film; the digital effects technicians' work in balancing the monochrome elements with the colorized elements is to be applauded. Likewise with the art direction; the look and feel of 1950s suburbia is achieved.

Of course, none of this would matter if there wasn't a strong story serviced by these visuals. Fortunately, writer/director Gary Ross (Oscar nominated for his screenplays for "Big" and "Dave") has given us a thought-provoking tale. Through effective, albeit less-than-subtle, symbolism, Ross uses images to convey timely messages about race relations, tolerance and individuality. The fact that he accomplishes this without coming off as preachy is a testament to the strength of the amount of talent involved in this film. And while some may note superficial qualities between this and other similar- themed films ("The Truman Show", "Back to the Future"), this one can stand firmly on it's own. See it; it's sure to start conversations afterwards.

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Visually impressive but somehow fails to deliver

Author: Russ@RT from Rugby, England
16 May 1999

An interesting concept which, if not wholly original, is at least well presented thanks to modern digital effects.

The main characters of the film - including David & Jennifer (Toby Maguire & Reese Witherspoon) - seem very two dimensional, making the transition from black & white to colour less convincing than it could have been. The one possible exception to this is the attraction between Jeff Daniels and Joan Allen, which is wonderfully underplayed at the start, suggesting that before the arrival of the two 90's teenagers they had never really noticed each other before.

It is not entirely surprising that the film has not been more successful commercially. It does not appear to have been very well marketed, especially the trailer which almost put me off seeing the film, and as a result has failed to capture the public's imagination despite receiving critical acclaim in the press.

Overall, this is a film which could have been so much more and done so much better but at the end of the day is just pleasant.

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Pleasant surprise!

Author: gemineye
15 May 1999

I saw this movie at the dollar theatre! It was a pleasant surprise.. I thought Joan Allen was great in the picture. The way they used the black and white and color scenes was terrific.

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This movie is all heart.

Author: thefan-2 from Detroit
3 May 1999

A confused little movie with a heart of gold and no brain. The teenage son preaching the obvious at you gets tedious very fast. Jeff Daniels is good in a smallish role, I love Joan Allen in anything, Reese Witherspoon is a pretty girl with a look of her own.

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Black and White isn't always as it seems.

Author: Susie from USA
2 May 1999

A great movie! Great effects on the make-up to make the characters black and white. Especially on Joan Allen. Reese Witherspoon is a talented actress, who can make any movie-goer love her. The acting, effects, and plot were divine. Not your average film....but better! If you haven't already seen it, then you're in for a real treat. If Pleasantville 2 came out, it would be first on my list for must sees!!

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Free time on Sunday

Author: Alex Cesarz from California
28 April 1999

After watching "Pleasantville" I had to spend half an hour washing the preachyness out of my eyes.

If you buy the movie as a metaphor for the civil rights movement, it's not bad. But there are times when it seems to go beyond that simple explanation. Maybe I'm seeing things that weren't meant to be there, but equating anyone who resisted change with fascists? Seemed a little far fetched to me. And did anyone else notice that there were no consequences for people's actions? I mean, teen-age casual sex might be great and all, but there are some draw-backs (STD's, unwanted pregnancies itd.)

hmmm maybe I need to watch fewer movies and get out more.

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It's OK, but I expected so much more...

Author: Dario Birindelli from Firenze, Italy
26 April 1999

Ok. this movie's OK. But this not what it was supposed to be,is it? I waited for months for it to be released in Italy, waiting to see something dazzling and.. well,frankly,it's not much cop.

The effects are awesome,the plot isn't. When the first seeds of revolution and change in a perfect world are brought by a slutty teenage girl,you know you're in for a long night.

Still,not a bad film. Joan Allen is extraordinary. Jeff Daniels isn't. What did you expect?


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Pleasantville is Average. . .or so

Author: Timothy L. Wahl ( from tin.chef
25 April 1999

"Pleasantville" was a nice film. It was good. It was above average. It was "mild". It showed that bland could be raised to an art form and thought-provoking. In a place of forever "sunny skies", "cheery wives", and "holding hands", the movie colored in a couple of "with it" teens from the 90s age of acerbic tongues and one-night stands.

The black and white world of Pleasantville, the village where everything goes right and everyone knows right from wrong - and "Father Knows Best" - was a hybrid of "Our Town" and "The Truman Show". It was like the former perhaps for no other reason than being about small town America in sweet, innocent era, and a bit of the latter since everyone had a role to perform, done in the exact order all the time day after day without end. Without such a purpose the players in Pleasantville the village would have been in the dark. Coping with the unexpected was not in the grand scheme of things for the denizens of Pleasantville.

That's where the teenagers came in, and life in docile in which the basketball team never lost - and made all their baskets - and nothing caught on fire or got sullied from sin or sand was not to be the same.

Pleasantville the movie, contrasting this monochromatic world without conflict with a modern viewpoint, gave us an entertaining movie that reminded me of the time that a "gentleman wouldn't dare to use 'truck driver' language in front of a lady. The concept of "Pleasantville", although not entirely novel, did exhibit a flair for jarring those cobwebs to get us old timers, especially, to do a retake of the past, all-too-often looked at through rose-colored lenses. It told us how innocent and, quite really, how stupid we were to fall for that tome of family values, hook, line and sinker. Two twin beds in the master bedroom gave the appearance of the perfect, virginal family, whose big event of the day came when Father announced, "Honey, I'm home." Lovers lane was for star gazing but not on your back.

When the teens were released from their roles in Pleasantville and one of them returned to the present, we were jarred to 90s-reality of how tough we were. The over-the-hill 40 year old was all pent-up over not picking up a stud nine years her junior and vented a common obscenity, the kind of language only a truck driver would use in the day and age of Pleasantville. Certainly "a lady" wouldn't utter such crudeness. I guess we've come a long way, haven't we, Baby? We've become seasoned pros at spouting off, wagging our tongue with UNpleasantries.

"Pleasantville", though not a strong or compelling movie, did serve up two hours of a pleasant film experience. It threw on a little salt to a pretty bland time in our nation's history. It's a good, unpretentious film that gives you something to think about.

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