Pleasantville is truly an interesting movie. It deftly blends comedy, fantasy, and drama and it features strong performances from everyone involved. It also has stellar production values and an original and creative story at a time when they were becoming somewhat hard to come by, which the RT consensus says impressed critics. Well, it impressed me to. Pleasantville also has a wonderful powerful message that as treasured as those beliefs were back in the 1950's, they were based on lies and needed to be changed. This is also one of the most underrated films of all time, and in the review I will explain why.
Pleasantville is about Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) and David (Tobey Maguire), two siblings who couldn't be more opposite. Jennifer is extraverted and obnoxious, and David is shy and introverted. Plus, he would rather spend his time watching Pleasantville, his favourite TV show. He gets in a fight with Jennifer over the remote and a mysterious creepy TV repair guy shows up and gives David a remote that transports him and Jennifer into the world of Pleasantville. Pleasantville is a black-and-white world where the couples sleep in separate beds, nobody's heard of sex, the books are all blank, and various other things are wrong. They are swept into the lives of George and Betty Parker (played by William H. Macy and Joan Allen) as their son and their daughter, and they lead a colour revolution that I won't explain because you should see it for yourself to find out.
The film explores the rigid ways of the 1950's Pleasantville people and how bringing in two teenagers from the 1990's changed all of that and lead to a colour revolution. The sense of beauty and wonder and how new basic things like colour and art and rain are to these people is just stunning and a joy to watch. When some more unsavory aspects of the 20th century start to seep into Pleasantville, they may seem unpleasant (haha get it) at the time but we all understand that things like that have to happen in order to have change, and change is a thing that needs to happen. For all the humour in Pleasantville, it's certainly the thought-provoking material that I shall remember.
The performances were certainly strong all around, especially from the two lead actors. I do find it interesting that Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire did this movie together before he did Spiderman and she did Legally Blonde (AKA the movies that made them both really famous). Anyway, they both show their acting talent in this movie portraying David/Bud and Jennifer/Mary Sue. William H. Macy and Joan Allen were wonderful as well in their roles as Mr. and Mrs. Parker, and the rest of the supporting cast is splendid. Maguire and Witherspoon were engaging and funny in their roles and blended well with the rest of the cast. Needless to say, a great cast for a great movie.
The art direction in this film was absolutely splendid and the subtle addition of colour to the black and white was done perfectly. The film was nominated for Original Score, Art Direction, and Costume Design at the Oscars and it deserved those nominations 100%. It lost to Life is Beautiful and Shakespeare in Love, but the film definitely deserved its nominations. I loved to look at the movie and it was just as much a treat for the eyes as much as it was a treat for the ears. All in all, a great movie. There isn't much else to say, so I'm going to wrap this up.
I hold this film in very high regard and name it as one of the most underrated classics of all time. Great performances, a fantastic original thought-provoking story, and great visuals make this one of the finest dramas of all time. If you haven't seen this film, I say see it, and you won't be disappointed. All in all, one of the best movies ever made and a joy to watch and listen to from beginning to end. This has definitely impressed me and has earned my highest recommendation.