A mysterious remote control zaps contemporary teens Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon into the black-and-white suburban landscape of Maguire's favorite '50s sitcom, "Pleasantville," where their '90s attitudes inspire, agitate, and (literally) put color in the cheeks of the town's befuddledly wholesome citizens. Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, and Don Knotts also star in this inventive social comedy from "Big" scripter Gary Ross.
Filled with delightful and shrewd details about sitcom life (no toilets, no double beds, only two streets in the town), Pleasantville is a joy to watch, not only for its comedy but for the groundbreaking visual effects and astonishing production design as the town gradually transforms from crisp black and white to glorious color. Ross does tip his hand a bit about halfway through the film, obscuring the movie's basic message of the unpredictability of life with overloaded and obvious symbolism, as the black-and-white denizens of the town gang up on the "coloreds" and impose rules of conduct to keep their strait-laced town laced up. Still, the characterizations from the phenomenal cast--especially repressed housewife Allen and soda-shop owner Jeff Daniels, doing some of their best work ever--will keep you emotionally invested in the film's outcome, and waiting to see Pleasantville in all its final Technicolor glory. -- Mark Englehart
|Recommended Age||14 and up|
|Actors||Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels|
|Running Time||124 minutes|
|Studio||New Line Home Video|
|Release Date||Jun 1, 2004|