Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon in the "colorful" Pleasantville.
Pleasantville- (Rated PG-13 for adult ideas and sexual comments)Tobey Maguire plays David, a young, nerdy high school student with a very popular sexually active sister, Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon). Their family is a modern family where it's just the mother taking care of her children and trying to find a new love. Each one of the children reacts to this in their own way. David is a huge fan of the show Pleasantville. Pleasantville is an old black and white that portrays the ideal family of the 50's. This family is made up of a working husband (William H. Macy), a housewife (Joan Allen), and two teenage children, Bud and Mary Sue.
One night David wants to watch the Pleasantville marathon, Jennifer has a big date coming over to watch a concert. Of course, this leads to a major fight of control over the TV. While fighting over the remote, it flys out of their hands and breaks. Immediately, the doorbell rings. It's the TV repairman (Don Knotts), what a coincidence. He gives them a weird looking remote with a little more "oomph!". When the TV repairman leaves after a very nice little meeting, they fight over this weird remote and accidentally press a button. Next thing they know, they're in Pleasantville. David is Bud, and Jennifer is Mary Sue. The TV repairman appears on their TV screen in Pleasantville. He tells him that he sent them there and that he's not gonna bring them back. He says they must stay there and he'll check back on them. David loves this because he always has wanted to live in Pleasantville, it's kind of his dream. Jennifer hates it. She hates the clothing, the town and that she missed her big date.
From this point on the movie becomes pretty formulaic in repeating over and over it's ideas of breaking out of your shell, being free. The movie becomes a discovery movie in which everyone finds his or her inner beauty. Jeff Daniels plays the owner of an ice cream shop that Bud works at. He is a very simple man who when his shell is cracked, he gets inspired to paint and he admits his love of Allen's character. Jennifer and David are the sparks that ignite the inner fire of the people.
Then the town becomes opposed to these ideas, freedom, openness, and sex. The people who have these ideas turn colors everyone else is black and white. The town makes laws to separate these coloreds from the non-coloreds. They limit the music they can listen to and the paint colors they could use. This is comparable to the restrictions and the generalizations in the 50's about the African Americans. One thing weird in the movie is that I didn't see one African-American anywhere in the movie.
The leader of this opposition to the coloreds is the Mayor, Big Bob (J.T. Walsh). Walsh was very good in his final performance. William H. Macy is an assistant to the Mayor in making of these Laws even though his wife becomes a colored. Then there is a struggle for their freedom and boycotting of the colored stores.
My reaction to this movie was definitely a positive one but not by much. The movie is beautifully done in its imagery and cinematography. The acting itself is OK. The ensemble cast is one of the best of the year. Some of these actors are my personal favorites like Macy. I give Macy a lot of credit for picking good roles like in this movie, Boogie Nights, and Fargo. The main problem of this movie was that the main focus of this movie is freedom, and that is the only focus for at least the last hour and a half. The movie is a little drawn out. The movie is very simple. Everything is given to you in this movie. There really isn't anything to figure out. I don't like it when you can figure everything out from the first second either. The movie is visually amazing and worth seeing just for that. Also, I think that in honor of J.T. Walsh's final performance everyone who reads this should see another one of his movies. I recommendA Few Good Men, or Breakdown. Anyway I give this movie 2 1/2 stars for ok performances and one of the most beautiful movies to look at.