Pleasantville - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pleasantville Reviews

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May 20, 2016
Not what I expected. Starts out with modern kids transported into a 1950s a sitcom world, teasing the era, slowly morphs into a parable with some depth. Apart from a lull in act 3 (which I understand is probably deliberate to emphasize the uncertainty of the future, as I asked myself "how could this end?"), the effects visually and emotionally are surprisingly good.
May 19, 2016
One of my all time favorites
May 19, 2016
This retro comedy is pleasant to look at and oftentimes very funny, but "Pleasantville" is also a film with an, although interesting, very confused concept. Ross could be trying to convey several themes here, but the majority of them tend to go back on themselves. This whole movie is a paradox, one that clumsily promotes progressive ideas and tries to state that conservative values lead to a lack of individuality and, even worse, fascism... as I said, a paradox. I was very young when this film was released aside other equally progressive, but far more wholesome films like "Fight Club" and "American Beauty" and my parents weren't even alive in the days of Pleasantville, but, seeing the results of progressive movements in the year 2016, it seems to me like the slope really was slippery and the areas seems to be gray once again.
May 15, 2016
I found it to have a unique plot that u didnt know where it was going. An interesting concept that gets better as it goes along with the leave it to beaver era of tv becoming symbolical of segregation and censorship that plagued that time beneath an all white veneer. Some of the script is dated now and i still cant stand tobey mcguire's acting. That being said i thought the ending was lame with the whole who knows what will happen next? Line repeated over n over instead of a real conclusion.
May 10, 2016
not a lot of movies are this good the second time around :) really enjoyed rewatching it.
½ May 8, 2016
A great movie, at its core, makes you think. And this movie does just that. The juxtaposition of the black/white to color is wonderful, and the messages that get painted in this film is wonderful. One of my favorite Tobey Maguire performances (and there's nothing wrong with Reese in a poodle skirt either-she does a fantastic job). Great movie.
½ May 8, 2016
The movie is good. I appreciated how the colored people (and the colored diner) were treated comparably to how the nazis treated the jews in WWII. I also appreciated the shots borrowed from the court scene in the adaption of To Kill A Mockingbird. The first 1/3 of the film is bland and boring, but it fits in with the themes of the film. I would definitely recommend.
May 6, 2016
Pleasantville gives off a comforting, nice element that soon turns a little more into a social message as it goes on - this is great in a sense, but the mood of the film is drastically differing between prejudice storylines and replicating 1950s culture, sticking to the original plot.
Two bickering siblings, David and Jennifer, are given a high tech remote that sucks them into the world of David's favorite 1950s sitcom Pleasantville. Unable to escape for weeks on end, they tamper with some of the classic episodes and make the dreary black and white repetitive nature of Pleasantville more uplifting and colorful, literally. As technicolor slowly begins to spread into the once all black and white town, prejudice arises amongst a corrupt local government and David and Jennifer strive to fix Pleasantville's problems before returning home.
Pleasantville's plot always seemed interesting to me before I watched it and heard about it, and it really is interesting. Comparative to that of fellow late 90s fun on 50s culture film Blast from the Past, its original storyline of getting back home and not tampering too much with original episode storylines is overriden by the uprising of technicolor in Pleasantville, a clearly personal but still very inventive social statement. The charming nature of Pleasantville is soon reminded that even in this seemingly perfect realm, trouble and gloom still resides - which is great, but affects the film's atmosphere in its final hour. Pleasantville isn't possible without a great story, and it mainly delivered on that achievement - there were a lot of missed opportunities floating around for more entertaining plot turns. The performances are good, nothing to run home about but they're fine. Some characters are very likable - specifically, I found Jeff Daniels' character to be great - and others achieve at being loathsome. Pleasantville is good and gives a lot of inventive, groundbreaking and clever ideas for a story, but it tends to flipflop on that same element.
May 5, 2016
"Pleasantville" is a fascinating social commentary that is as visually beautiful as it is introspective. This film is best known for its strategic use of colors in a black and white world and has become an iconic piece of film history. The contrast is stunning, like "Sin City" without the violence and graphic imagery. Various films have used this technique to be symbolic but there has never been a story that so effectively integrated the element into its plot. The vivid colors that fill the screen are complimented by brilliant cinematography. John Lindley transports us to this "Leave it to Beaver" world through unique camera angles and memorable shots. The entire film is an impressive work of art and I would have given it the Oscar for Best Art Direction over "Shakespeare in Love" any day. Unfortunately, the overt sexuality in the film negates the ability for families to watch this fascinating story together. I understand that this is a story of self-discovery and that is how some of the characters reach the enlightenment of who they really are, but the overemphasis on sexuality clouds the moral of the story. The film could have been easily been edited at a PG-level by implying things instead of using graphic noises; still, it is tame compared to the teen comedies of today. This film has a great cast, from the impeccable acting chops of William H. Macy to the scheming J.T. Walsh in his final film. Other big names include Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, and a nod to classic television with Don Knotts. The crew did a great job of finding an entire cast that has that classic 1950's look, and casting twenty-somethings like Marley Shelton and a young Paul Walker that look like teenagers. Reese Witherspoon's performance was the best in the film and it really pushed her into the Hollywood spotlight, while Tobey Maguire's performance made me realize that I didn't even like his acting in his younger years. One of the film's highlights is the memorable theme by Randy Newman that captures the mystery and wonder of this transforming utopia. Newman's Oscar-nominated score works well alongside classics that transport us back to the late 50's, including "At Last" by Etta James, "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck, "So What" by Miles Davis, and Fiona Apple's cover of "Across the Universe." I can't believe that this film is almost 20 years old. Even in this time of unprecedented digital effects, "Pleasantville" still manages to take my breath away as the vivid colors of enlightenment contrast its black and white world.
May 3, 2016
"Pleasantville" finds its voice with low-key satire and societal message about progressivism.
½ May 1, 2016
Pleasantville is a simple but beautiful film. It has wonderful visuals, a great little idea, some good characters, and a nice bit of commentary on society. Its also quite funny, especially Don Knotts. It does what movies should do, invent it's own world and visual flair, and tell a good story. The whole cast is great, and it is well worth seeing more than once.
½ April 29, 2016
"Pleasantville" has a visual style that is impressively artistic, which is a good compliment for a story that has a biting social commentary and satire that provokes thoughts in its audience afterwards.
April 27, 2016
Fantastic old-fashioned family viewing with engaging themes, humour and fun characters.
March 12, 2016
A throwback of 50s TV shows and beautiful looking at the same time
½ January 2, 2016
This is an unusual film which I think was made, and the story was written for, the fact that the director wanted to make a film where colour and black and white images were mixed. This is a nice part of the film but I was looking for other messages too. There is a sort of race message at one point and I was thinking that it may be about the switch from black and white films/tv to colour but I might just be looking for something that isn't there. Still, a good film.
December 21, 2015
Tobey Maguire's finest movie and brilliantly written & directed with a great supporting cast
October 26, 2015
"Pleasantville" is hilarious and heartwarming from start to finish. It's one of Tobey Maguire's best movies before doing the "Spider-Man" franchise.
October 17, 2015
thought we saw this already?
September 15, 2015
A truly original and unique movie with charming and delightful performances galore in this terrific ensemble including Tobey Magurie, Reese Witherspoon, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, Paul Walker, and Jeff Daniels. The art direction and cinematography are gorgeous in this movie as well as the sweeping score and great costumes and hair design. Gary Ross has a great sense of imagination and I wish he made some more movies like this in his post Hunger Games career revamping his career. This is a pure delight to watch
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