Critics Consensus

Filled with lighthearted humor, timely social commentary, and dazzling visuals, Pleasantville is an artful blend of subversive satire and well-executed Hollywood formula.



Total Count: 94
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Movie Info

David Wagner is a Nineties kid with a Fifties addiction. He's hooked on reruns of a classic television show called "Pleasantville," set in a simple place where everyone is swell and perky, "confrontation" is a dirty word and life is pleasingly pleasant. Addicted to this utopian world, David immerses himself in "Pleasantville" as an innocent escape from the trouble-plagued real world that he must share with his ultra-hip, totally popular twin sister, Jennifer. But one evening, life takes a bizarre twist when a peculiar repairman gives him a strange remote control, which zaps David and his sister straight into Pleasantville. All the repressed desires of life in the Fifties begin to boil up through the people of Pleasantville, changing their lives in strange and wonderful ways that none of them had even dared to dream of, until they were visited by two kids from the real world.

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Tobey Maguire
as David Wagner/Bud Parker
Reese Witherspoon
as Jennifer Wagner/Mary Sue Parker
Joan Allen
as Betty Parker
William H. Macy
as George Parker
Jeff Daniels
as Mr. Johnson
Don Knotts
as Repairman
J.T. Walsh
as Big Bob
Dawn Cody
as Betty Jean
Heather McGill
as Girl in School Yard
Paul Morgan Stetler
as College Counselor
Denise Dowse
as Health Teacher
McNally Sagal
as Science Teacher
Jane Kaczmarek
as David's Mom
Jenny Lewis
as Christin
Kai Lennox
as Mark's Lackey No. 1
Jason Behr
as Mark's Lackey No. 2
Robin Bissell
as Commercial Announcer
Harry Singleton
as Mr. Simpson
John Ganun
as Fireman No. 1
Maggie Lawson
as Lisa Anne
Andrea Taylor
as Peggy Jane
Lela Ivey
as Miss Peters
Marc Blucas
as Basketball Hero
Jason Maves
as Paper Boy
Gerald Emmerick
as TV Weatherman
Nancy Lenehan
as Marge Jenkins
Danny Strong
as Juke Box Boy
Laura Carney
as Bridge Club Lady
Dan Gillies
as Fireman No. 2
Adam Carter
as Boy in Soda Shop
David Tom
as Whitey
James Keane
as Police Chief Dan
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News & Interviews for Pleasantville

Critic Reviews for Pleasantville

All Critics (94) | Top Critics (25)

  • 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.

    Oct 18, 2008

    Joe Leydon

    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The lighthearted fable Pleasantville takes some pointed swipes at the make-believe world of 1950s TV -- and none too soon.

    Nov 6, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 18, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • One of the few recent Hollywood films out there that has used new digital technology to truly engage the viewer, and make possible a thoughtful story.

    Dec 17, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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