Pleasantville- Film Review

Essay by LeechaaHigh School, 11th gradeA, June 2004

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The film 'Pleasantville' marks the directorial debut of two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter Gary Ross. Actors involved in this film include Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Walker, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, J.T. Walsh and Don Knotts.

Not only have I chosen to review this film for its solid and appealing plot, but also for its mingling use of colour and black and white, which works well to drive the point of the movie.

Plot For the first time, Pleasantville's citizens experience a world of sensuous delights, diverse desires, and frightening unpredictability. They are exposed to the terror of violence and the wonder of love. David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) are twin siblings from a typical, broken 90's family. One night, after a tug of war the remote control breaks and a mysterious television repairman appears at their door. After quizzing David on his Pleasantville knowledge, the repairman gives him a magical remote control that blasts them into the television show Pleasantville.

David and Jennifer are transformed into Bud and Mary-Sue the characters from Pleasantville, where they bring a double-edged gift of possibility, introducing colour to the artificial, naive and two dimensional community that is trapped in a black-and-white 50's utopia. In this alternate reality lies a sense of blandness, where there is no colour, noise, doubt or uncertainty. With the help of Bud and Mary-Sue citizens are introduced to the profound world of sex, emotion, and spontaneity, and as characters lose their innocence they get a shot of Technicolor as their badge of honour. These colours bring shock and anger along with their beauty.

Themes and Issues There are many notable and apparent themes which lie beneath the surface of the film. For instance, a message that I came across...