Pleasantville - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pleasantville Reviews

Page 3 of 318
½ October 2, 2014
It's clever and charming. However, it hasn't particularly aged well considering it's barely a footnote in cinematic history.
September 2, 2014
Pleasantville is a more than pleasant artsy mix of appropriate satire, light comedy, and stunning effects.
September 22, 2013
A thoughtful yet harmless flick about happiness with enough nostalgia and production value to chew during and after screening.
August 16, 2014
Very original and funny, the ending is quite uneven however.
August 12, 2014
When people get coloured.. the feels!!
½ September 21, 2012
This is another movie I should've discovered later rather than sooner. I didn't really think much of it the first time I saw it. I wouldn't find out until many years later that "Pleasantville" is all about the loss of innocence. And I couldn't understand it because at the time, I was still innocent myself.
March 30, 2008
A creative, fabulous film that showcases the talents of a young Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. It's funny, satirical, and the mixture of black and white / color is visually appealing.
August 1, 2014
I don't know this movie coming from the 1998, i thought this movie is from the 2000something, Wow! No wonder Tobey and Reese looked so young, and Jeff Daniels also looked soo very much young! ^^ Very unique film, i enjoy watching it, "the colour is already inside you" Tobey character said, it end happily but it didn't reveal with whom Tobey's and Resse's mom end up with?!
July 23, 2014
Movies so culturally rich are rare these days. This film tackles tons of social issues, is laden with allegories and symbolism while never growing cliche or sanctimonious.
July 21, 2014
film yang sangat cantik bgt pewarnaannya
as a fans of 50's black and white era, i love this movie soo much
i love its color for sure
film yang cantik :)
July 18, 2014
Things get a little slippery in the third act, some of the symbolism is flawed, and sometimes it oversteps its bounds. But for the most part, this is a tremendously realized idea that occasionally reaches sublime levels. The visuals are spectacular.
½ July 12, 2014
For some reason, I couldn't give this 20 minutes of my time ten years ago. So maybe it's not a great film for some 20-somethings. But seeing it again in 2014, I was floored. My only familiarity with Reese Witherspoon is via my favorite rom com of all time, "Just Like Heaven", and to see her in this slyly sexy, coming of age role was a real treat. The gimmick (let's call it what it is) of black and white versus color loses its sci-fi flair and becomes thematically important very quickly, and is the basis of a profoundly touching scene about a woman trying to cover up who she really is. The film can be interpreted many different ways and I recommend it to any student of things like post-modern criticism, rock and roll, or modern American history. Don't get hung up on the "nineties" cultural basis. The little things that make the main characters property of the nineties are lost and gone in the first twenty minutes of the film. And knowing that you're seeing things through the eyes of the nineties helps to propel you into the fifties in true style.
June 15, 2007
Clever and enjoyable not for children but the actors all have lots of fun
½ September 16, 2009
Saw this morning. Made me laugh.
July 5, 2014
Where's my dinner? For me.... The best line eve!
June 27, 2014
An interesting premise, yet it's somewhat schmaltzy. Though it's very admirable, too.
½ June 12, 2014
More of a sight to see than a story to be heard. Acting that felt a little too black and white failed to push the social commentary to its peak.
June 10, 2014
Astonishingly gorgeous.
May 16, 2014
The expectations versus reality of my opinion towards Pleasantville is jarring. I expected to really enjoy an inventive piece of filmmaking. The reality is, the morals of the story completely obliterated any enjoyment I could have gotten out of the movie.

By briefly explaining the story, you'll understand where I'm coming from. In the 1990s, two teenage siblings are transported back in time to a 1950s television sitcom. "Pleasantville" is where they land. Everything is in black and white - literally and morally. David is a geek, his sister Jennifer is popular and proudly slutty. Once they're transported to the sitcom, they eventually wind up doing everything in their power to update Pleasantville to a modern way of thinking.

There are two extremes represented in this movie. Number one, there is the 1950s: where everyone stays in their place, women stay in the home, progressive thought is shunned, creativity is a big no no, etc. Then there is the 1990s: where sexual promiscuity is a must, moral character and values are passť and simple-minded, faithfulness in marriage is easily pushed to the side, etc. The movie takes a militant stand towards the mentality of the 1990s.

And as I said, these are two extremes. What the movie paints as being so great (the newer mentality) is far from being close to what I agree with. That said, I do agree with some of it. On the other side, I don't believe that the uber-conservative, 1950s mentality of black and white morality is right either. But I do believe in family, faithful marriages, and so forth.

Because the movie paints both sides so heavy-handedly, I practically couldn't agree with anything this movie has to say. As David and Jennifer begin to change the black and white Pleasantville, the world slowly changes to color. Those who are not on board with the new way of thinking remain in black and white. It's only when a character changes what they believe in, that they actually change to color. The movie paints all change like it's a good thing. When Jennifer introduces the world to excessive sex, those that follow her lead change into being in color - because that's absolutely a good thing, right?! Later on, any act of passion, rage, or violence changes a person into color. Which isn't something I inherently disagree with. I believe that the world is always changing around us. I believe that people change constantly. But the movie never makes the distinction that some change isn't for the better.

The movie preaches that all change is good. And it's not. I'm in no way saying that the world we live in should be like 1950s Pleasantville. But I certainly don't accept the fact that all newness, danger, lust, and transformation is for the better. Because Pleasantville preaches that every change is good, it doesn't actually stand for anything. It only stands for the fact that nobody should stand for anything. And when you don't stand for anything, you'll fall for everything. If sacrificing cats was a popular thing to do back in the 90s, then this movie would have said "go for it!"

The movie does salvage a bit of my good graces in one of its overall messages. Once you get past the glorification of all things "change," there's a neat idea that is presented. And it's basically this, nothing is perfect in this world. Your life probably isn't "ideal." Nor should it be ... because it isn't. Your life shouldn't "be" anything. It is what it is. Kind of cool...

But in the end, I really can't pick up much of anything that this movie puts down. I don't agree with the completely close-minded mentality of the 50s, nor can I agree with the "anything goes" mind-set of the 90s.

Oh, and one more thing before I get into the positive aspects: this movie is way too long. At 120 minutes, it really begins to drag by the end. Around the 75 minute mark, the schtick was wearing thin on me. And then, for the next 40 minutes, the movie slams you over the head with its ideals. And if you're not on board with what the movie has to say (like me), then the movie will get worse and worse as it drags along, endlessly.

But on the technical side, there is a lot to like here. Gary Ross's direction is ten times better than his story. The way that the story is told is very cool. Going back into a 50s sitcom does provide for some very funny situations. And the black and white cinematography is extremely well done.

The performances (not so much what the performances stand for) are excellent. Tobey Maguire stars as David. He is so incredibly nerdy and awkward, when he wants to be. But he can also transcend that, when he wants to. One of my absolute favorites, Reese Witherspoon, plays Jennifer. This movie gives me one more reminder of why I love Reese, and her character is the only one that really had an arc that appealed to me. She starts out as being completely shallow. But she grows into a person who cares about learning and intelligence. She has a great line in the end, "I did the slut thing, David. It got kinda old." That was just about the only moral in the movie that I could completely say "yes" to.

There are some great supporting performances. Two actors that I was shocked to see in this were Don Knotts in a great cameo, and Paul Walker as Jennifer's Pleasantville boyfriend. Honestly, I think Walker does some of his best and most convincing acting here. It was weird to see. Rest in peace. Don Knotts is naturally hilarious, so he's a joy to watch here. And lastly, William H. Macy plays the most sympathetic character in the story ... at least for me. In that he originally does not jump on board with the extreme change. But over the course of the story, he slowly begins to realize that not all change is bad. He doesn't fly off the handle, one way or the other. And yet, in the end, he's bounced to the side in favor of his cheating wife and her new boyfriend. Screw you too, movie.

I can appreciate the fact that this is a very well made movie with some appealing elements. But I can in no way endorse anything this movie preaches. This is, without a doubt, the most militantly liberal movie I have ever seen. And I'm not a fan of anything that heavy-handedly shoves its ideological agenda down the audience's throat. Pleasantville's tagline is "Nothing is as Simple as Black and White." And yet this movie insists that the comparison between liberalism and conservatism is as simple as the former being totally and obviously right - and the latter being totally and simple-mindedly wrong. There's a healthy balance that is disgustingly foreign to this film. Making this film disgustingly foreign to me.

"It's not supposed to be like this .... It's not supposed to be anything." 2/10
May 18, 2014
Pleasantville (1998)
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen,William H. Macy, J.T Walsh,Reese Witherspoon,Don Knotts,Paul Walker, and Marley Shelton
Written,Produced&Directed By:Gary Ross
Nothing is as a simple as black&white
Is everything pleasant in your life? Are you always happy? Or are you like me when nothing ever goes your way? If the answer to the first two questions are no and the third one yes then you should watch this film. You should know that the film references some cult black and whit television but I don't know which. But this film is going to hit with it's message and it lasts. That hope is still in the world even if you change.
In Pleasantville David is young man in high school who watches Tv times Pleasantville and has watched every single episode and is going to watch the marathon while answering the questions. And he has a crush on a girl in school but doesn't have the courage to ask her out. His sister on the other hand is a fad girl who hangs out with her friends and is trying to make a date with the hottest guy in school. But everything changes when a Tv repairman comes at their door and gives them a new remote. He starts asking David questions about Pleasantville, when the repairman leaves David and his sister start arguing over the Tv again and they pull the remote and it sends them to Pleasantville, where they begin to discover something in themselves and the town.
You will appreciate this film more if you do what I did and go in to it knowing very little. It will be the greatest joy you will have with this film. You might like it if your a self-effacing person because nothing ever goes your way,if you just want a good laugh or if you just want to smile after a bad day.Because it has some memorable characters played by wonderful actors.
Tobey Maguire plays David who once he goes into the world of Pleasantville must become Bud and sticks with that name because he is changing. He gives an amazing performance, Tobey Maguire notably does when he plays characters similar to these. This is the best performance I've seen from Reese Witherspoon who plays David/Bud's sister Jenifer/Mary Sue, Her character's always spice things up to her taste, it makes Maguire's characters eventually play along in his own way. Joan Allen(who's work I've never seen)plays Betty the mother of the television characters Bud and Mary Sue. Her and Reese Witherspoon share one of my favorite sequences in the film. Marly Shelton plays Margaret who gives cookies to one of the characters from the Tv world but decides to go with the change that she's happening around her. They all feel something in their guts these characters and that's the best thing about them they don't know what to do, they would usually feel scared of getting out of their comfort zone but they have the courage to do so.
The film has great cinematography, it's the best looking even when it's in black and white.
Plesantville is one of the best films you will ever see,it looks beautiful,has memorable characters with knock out performances. It's well shot too, Plesantville is a pleasant five out of five.
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