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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 20.59%
Average: 16.91%
Pretty Bad: 5.88%
Total Crap: 2.21%

8 reviews, 88 user ratings

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by Ryan Arthur

"Honey, I'm home!"
5 stars

I don't like Reese Witherspoon.

But you know, that had no bearing on how I enjoyed this film. And I enjoyed it tremendously.

Two teens (Tobey Maguire and Witherspoon) get sucked into the 50's TV show "Pleasantville" after a mysterious TV repairman (Don Knotts!) gives them a goofy looking remote. The magical remote sends them into the television world, where everything is black and white and the values of 50's television surround them: Mom & Dad (Joan Allen and William H. Macy) sleep in separate beds, and Mom's all about cooking, cooking, cooking. There's a malt shoppe/soda fountain, and all the kids wear their school colors. But when a couple of kids from the 90's show up, things start to change.

Black and white starts to become color, and teens discover sex. Big time.

Throughout all of this, those who don't discover color in their world (led by the mayor, played by the great J.T.Walsh in his last film role) start to become fearful. It's change, and they fear change, doggone it.

The movie has a fairly light feel to it for the first 75 minutes, but things change. There are certain darker elements here, like when the folks still in black and white start to refer to the vibrantly colorful people as "coloreds." It echos (and is meant to echo) the race divisions of the time. The "coloreds" in this case are not African-American, but genuinely are colored. I wouldn't say the film takes a sinister tone, but it does change tones considerably. That doesn't take away from the film, not in the least. It actually lends more to a somewhat fantastical film. Point is, it's damn good.

The movie is also a visual marvel, much as What Dreams May Come is, but still completely different. That made sense, right? The touches of color in an otherwise black and white world are incredible, and to see scenes with both black and white and color (commonplace in the last hour) are outstanding. It's visuals that help to make a strange premise with shaky execution (the hows and whys of what happened to the kids are never explained) a superb film.

The performances are wonderful. Tobey Maguire is rapidly becoming a fine young actor, and pretty soon he'll be more than just a "friend of Leo." He certainly deserves it. Whitherspoon doesn't embarrass herself to badly, and I actually enjoyed her performance by the end of the film. For me, though, Joan Allen is one of the best actresses out there today, and this film proves it. She's done starchy drama (The Crucible) and she's done pure popcorn (Face/Off) and she's done everything in between, and each time she's done an incredible job. There very well could be an Oscar nomination here, and it'd be well deserved if it did happen.

I can't stress enough how much I liked this film. Go see it.

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originally posted: 10/24/98 10:52:23
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User Comments

11/15/20 Anne boring 1 stars
9/14/17 morris campbell nice visuals but very overrated 3 stars
4/28/14 Jeff WIlder Lacks bite as a satire. But entertains and provokes some thought. 4 stars
9/14/09 the dork knight Film has trouble committing between farce and comedy. Feels uneven 4 stars
3/18/09 Dr.Lao Fascinating idea, could have used one more re-wright though 4 stars
8/21/08 Amanda if you feel the need to judge a movie based on face and not on morals, grow up. 5 stars
5/27/07 WalkingDisaster Love this movie! 5 stars
11/19/06 lil not bad 3 stars
3/25/06 krystal You have to see this movie its an olie but a goodie 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Strong message about intolerance and the loss of innocence= one for the ages 5 stars
2/10/05 Jeff Anderson A great looking, richly acted, & dreamy film! ANYWAY, THREE CHEERS FOR DON KNOTTS!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/05/04 DM Really good movie 5 stars
5/16/04 Daveman It's really sad that such an awesome technical triumph doesn't realise its potential. 3 stars
3/27/04 Ghetto Smurf 5 stars
11/24/03 smartmusician good 4 stars
11/22/03 ross hendrick two thumbs up 5 stars
1/05/03 BAM A GREAT FILM 5 stars
11/13/02 Andrew Carden Nostalgic Film Is Also Realistic and Greatly Dramatic. 5 stars
8/09/02 palaboy101 the twilight zone premise put to good use, the ending though was a bit of a letdown. 4 stars
7/16/02 R.W. Welch Imaginative premise undermined by slow pace and preachy tendencies. 3 stars
4/04/02 ellie Funny and clever, Tobey Maguire proves he's one of the best actors around. 5 stars
2/08/02 Meredith Harshaw Moving at first but silly on further reflection. 2 stars
2/02/02 kinkykaty Brilliant film,loved Jeff daniels sweet,naive role most of all. 5 stars
11/18/01 Jim Amazing satire with a lot on its mind -- maybe TOO much, but most movies have too little! 5 stars
9/23/01 Matthew Bartley Great film.It stands up to so many repeat viewings 5 stars
8/03/01 Elvisfan It was all right, a little bit much by the end 4 stars
7/17/01 The Hamburgler THE TOXIC BUTTHOLE WILL PREVAIL!!!!! 5 stars
7/07/01 Dom Corleone superb 5 stars
4/14/01 LiL Cool film Reese and Toby rock! 5 stars
3/29/01 Joel Great movie! 5 stars
12/17/00 The Evil Penguin I agree with Ionicera 3 stars
6/13/00 danilo starts off good -- but gets VERY boring in the end 3 stars
3/10/00 David Rogers I didn't know what was going on! 2 stars
3/01/00 Ionicera interesting message that was stretched past its limits and spoon fed to the audience 3 stars
2/18/00 Richard Wright Decent special effects wasted on a sentimental slop of a film.The last 30 mins suck esp. 2 stars
2/17/00 Starla EXCELLENT! A strikingly memorable film, everyone should see it-now! 5 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Pasted a cheesy smile on my face for hours. Reminds me of my own neighborhood. :-) 5 stars
12/27/99 Malini Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon were great in this cool in a way 50s film! 5 stars
12/15/99 Paul Extremely funny and witty with drama mixed it. Not to be missed 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo enjoyed it very much but it could have been better 4 stars
8/14/99 Marshy Got rave reviews but still underrated... See it! Great movie! 5 stars
7/28/99 Matthew Bartley Brilliant 5 stars
6/23/99 Tristynn I just don't understand the hype.. not that great of a movie.. 3 stars
4/30/99 Matthew Bartley Brilliant cast,stunning effects. Top marks for this one! 5 stars
4/06/99 Michael Grimm masturbation scene ruled!!! 4 stars
3/09/99 Wolfy316 A truly wonderful film, telling a moral tale with being overly moralistic. 5 stars
3/08/99 CanadianChica Going into this movie, i was thinking fun- going out, i was thinking...awesome!!!!!! 5 stars
3/05/99 stuck in lilydale Did anyone else think this was one of the most annoyingly pleasant films ever made? 3 stars
1/24/99 donkey_dew More special effect shots than Titanic, Armageddon, and Jurrasic Park combined? Fucking aye 5 stars
1/12/99 Miss Scarlett Ok, the bathtub scene? 'Nuff said. 2 stars
1/12/99 demon_shredder Not bad...not too bad at all. 5 stars
1/10/99 Diogenesnutz This movie was really annoying. I don't know what else to say. 2 stars
1/05/99 JLB Derivative, too many mixed metaphors, pure yuck, but kinda nice visually 3 stars
12/31/98 Todd Great - though a bit preachy at the end 4 stars
12/18/98 Edward The Great Beyond 5 stars
12/16/98 A Gen Xer I thought it was spot-on. My black n' white dad didn't like. Go figure... 4 stars
12/10/98 Bryan Technical wizardry 4 stars
12/06/98 Mr Showbiz A flawed but beguiling directional debut. 4 stars
12/03/98 Kirgo .......... 5 stars
11/30/98 Bill C. A nostalgic look back at the innocent 50's 5 stars
11/25/98 John Maybe intensify the dark side/more impact! 4 stars
11/25/98 Brimley Sentiments for the Gen-X age- I'd take the less confusing Frank Capra any day 1 stars
11/22/98 Bic W Should be called Dullsville - neat technical tricks, but not worth a full length film 2 stars
11/21/98 Craig Big Eagle This movie is just great. Makes you think a little...even if your a brainless amoeba 5 stars
11/20/98 evil buffy better than i thought i would be. nice effects but issues too. 4 stars
11/20/98 Jumbles Very enjoyable film of ideas, but a bit slow and heavy-handed in spots. 4 stars
11/12/98 Tracy incredible! Makes me want to have sex.... 5 stars
11/11/98 JC Kick-ass! 5 stars
11/09/98 Spice come on baby lets get in technicolor! 4 stars
11/06/98 David Torpey Unusual movie. Worth the ticket. 5 stars
11/04/98 The Graduate Gorgeous visuals, great characters. Too bad the trailer gives 90% of the plot away. 4 stars
11/03/98 grunter Doesn't live up to the hype, has NO CHANCE of winning an Oscar fanboy geeks!! 3 stars
10/29/98 dana Yow! 5 stars
10/29/98 Phil Scroggs Moderately entertaining; cool effects. 4 stars
10/28/98 Milhouse Faqw What a great movie! It had a great plot, script and special effects! Bravo! 5 stars
10/27/98 Paige Blackheart I laughed, I cried, I loved it! 5 stars
10/27/98 Blake This movie sucked 2 stars
10/27/98 i8bozo props to my co-workers for a job well done 5 stars
10/26/98 Gamma Outstanding Performances all around. Visual Effects A++. Terrific story. All Great! 5 stars
10/25/98 Negative Creep Its DON KNOTTS! And He's FUNNY! Someone Get this Man Some WORK! Oh yeah movie was a'ight ;) 4 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool I really feel this is the film to watch this year. Pleasantville is a worthwhile movie. 5 stars
10/01/98 katherine great story, and pretty funny. 4 stars
9/29/98 brian Amazing! More like Back to the Future then Truman Show! 5 stars
8/30/98 {{{OZ}}} Teenagers find themselves stuck in a 50's sitcom. Works really well, a great film. 5 stars
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  23-Oct-1998 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004



Directed by
  Gary Ross

Written by
  Gary Ross

  Jeff Daniels
  Don Knotts
  William H. Macy
  Reese Witherspoon
  Tobey Maguire
  J.T. Walsh

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