Time: 116 Minutes
AWARDS: Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Score
PLEASANTVILLE is an engaging movie that brigs up a lot of questions about life, unfortunately it hits you over the head with the answers. The main reason this film didn't get a better rating from me is because it got entirely too obvious and preachy in the end. A little subtlety would have gone a long way. Though I guess they figured if they were too subtle people may not have got the message. That's definitely not a worry now. The story begins when two '90s teenagers, David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) are zapped into David's favorite TV show Pleasantville. A town only possible in TV Land, Pleasantville is a place where it's nice all the time and everything stays the same. It's a gray world without any color. Everyday is sunny and mild. The basketball team always wins. There are no fires, no sex, no troubles and no way out.
David and Jennifer are forced to take on the roles of Bud and Mary Sue, two typical unassuming, perfect, decent teens. Except for the fact that Pleasantville bores Jennifer to tears. Not only does she hate to be in black and white, she doesn't understand how these "people" can either. David tries to get her to play along. Any alteration to the script and she could destroy the people of Pleasantville and their way of life forever. Refusing to listen, she lights the fuse that will eventually turn the town upside down by introducing the captain of the basketball team to sex. The experience blows his mind, bringing him to places he never could have dreamed of, because they never existed before in Pleasantville. Suddenly color, true color, starts to pop up all over the town. Roses are really red, the grass is actually green. People start to feel and think for themselves. Those who begin to expand their minds and souls also start to turn into full-blown color.
At first, the town is excited and bewildered by the new shades appearing in their midst. Most hope the colors will fade with time and things will go back to the way they were - gray and safe. But there's no turning back. When her "mother" (Joan Allen) asks Jennifer what goes on at Lovers Lane, she tells her the truth. In a turn on the typical mother/daughter roles, she explains to Betty exactly what sex is and how it's performed with or without a partner. Her self-discovery of pleasure, brings Betty in touch with not only her physical needs, but her emotional ones as well. Her orgasm causes the tree in her front yard to burst into flame, igniting a thirst for knowledge the town will desperately try to put out.