Critic Consensus: Filled with lighthearted humor, timely social commentary, and dazzling visuals, Pleasantville is an artful blend of subversive satire and well-executed Hollywood formula.
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Critic Reviews for Pleasantville
Ingeniously conceived and impressively executed, "Pleasantville" is a provocative, complex and surprisingly anti-nostalgic parable wrapped in the beguiling guise of a commercial high-concept comedy.
An ingenious fable, screenwriter Ross's directorial debut playfully spoofs the small-minded lifestyle idealised by 'family values' advocates, and the intolerance and insecurity underlying that ideal.
The lighthearted fable Pleasantville takes some pointed swipes at the make-believe world of 1950s TV -- and none too soon.
There's a terrific idea at the heart of Pleasantville, and it's a shame that its creator, Big screenwriter Gary Ross, can't figure where to take it.
Endearing it definitely is, so much so that it's easy to overlook the simplicity, and the sly confidence trick that gets played on us.
Audience Reviews for Pleasantville
It's not supposed to be anything. These are the wisest words ever said. Beautifully shot, this exactingly euphoric and colorful film.
Often heavy handed though nonetheless stimulating tale of the death (and she's not coming back, baby) of the American postwar "let's make nice cause its swell, gosh darnit" 50's mentality/fantasy. I like it, despite the browbeating, especially Joan Allen as Beaver Cleaver's mom unleashed.
?"Pleasantville" is everything you can ask for from a movie, and more. As a nerdy kids black and white television show becomes his life, he and his sister are sucked into the universe of 1958. In a perfect world, where change is unheard of, sex is incomprehensible, and colour is absent, Bud (Tobey Maguire) and his sister (Reese Witherspoon) learn that change can be the most beautiful thing. In this very odd world, many questions will be dying to be answered, and while most of them are, it is the true beauty that keeps you guessing when the film concludes. Everything about this film represents perfection. Paying a homage to classic paintings and classic television acting, this film is one of the best of the 90's. The emotions are endlessly engaging, the witty comedy is hilarious, the story is magnificent, and the cast is fantastic. "Pleasantville" is not one to be missed!
|David/Bud:||You mean, we're in Pleasantville?|
|Jennifer/Mary Sue:||I'm all pasty.|
|George:||Where's my dinner?|
|George:||"So, what's going to happen now?"|
|George:||So, what's going to happen now?|
|Betty:||"I don't know. Do you know what's going to happen now?"|
|Betty:||I don't know. Do you know what's going to happen now?|
|George:||Laughs, then says, "I don't."|
|George:||[laughs] I don't.|
|Mr. Johnson:||"I guess I don't either."|