A serious warning for all who dream of living in a community where there is:

  • no conflict
  • everything and everyone is totally reliable
  • everything and everyone stays the same
  • people are always very nice to each other

    Synopsis of this film
    Two modern day teenagers find themselves in Pleasantville, USA, where there has never been any rain, hatred, aggression, tears, painful changes or setbacks. In fact it's just like a politically correct, black and white 1950s TV series. Slowly, however, the town starts to change as real life creeps in - but not all of the population is happy with the change. The scene is set for some stress, trouble and strife!

    A very funny and entertaining story about idealistic dreams, escapism, yin and yang holistic living and change management.

    Fantastical writer Gary Ross makes an auspicious directorial debut with this inspired and oddly touching comedy about two 1990s kids (Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) thrust into the black-and-white TV world of Pleasantville - a Leave It to Beaver-style sitcom complete with picket fences, corner malt shop and warm chocolate chip cookies.

    When a somewhat unusual remote control (provided by repairman Don Knotts) transports them from their miserable stress-filled real world to G-rated TV land, Maguire and his sister Witherspoon are forced to play along as "Bud" and "Mary Sue", the obedient children of George and Betty Parker.

    "Bud", an obsessive Pleasantville devotee, understands the need for not toppling the natural balance of things. His sister, "Mary Sue", on the other hand, starts shaking the town up, most notably when she takes football stud Skip (Paul Walker) up to Lover's Lane for some modern-day fun and games.

    Soon enough, Pleasantville's teens are discovering sex along with - gasp! - rock & roll, free thinking and soul-changing Technicolour. 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 colour.

    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" outlook denizens of the town gang up on the "coloureds" 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. (review by Mark Englehart)

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