Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 100
    The kind of parable that encourages us to re-evaluate the good old days and take a fresh look at the new world we so easily dismiss as decadent.
  2. 90
    This uncommonly clever, surprisingly poignant fairy tale packs a social wallop that we're not quite prepared for.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Ingeniously conceived and impressively executed, Pleasantville is a provocative, complex and surprisingly anti-nostalgic parable.
  4. Magical, visually exciting, affecting even in its sincere hokeyness, and extremely provocative.
  5. 88
    Not only is Pleasantville a satire, a fantasy, and a visual marvel, but it's the best kind of feel-good movie.
  6. 80
    Offers effortless charm, wit, and originality in spades.
  7. 80
    To concentrate on the minor faults of a fable as beautiful and unusual as Pleasantville would be missing the point.
  8. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Charming and imaginative.
  9. I can't get over the nagging feeling that Pleasantville's beguiling spell was cast by a real magician, only to be carelessly broken by the same clumsy charlatan.
  10. Reviewed by: Jennifer Nowitzky
    What makes up for the, at times, slow-moving theatrics is the physical beauty of Pleasantville.
  11. Ross's comedy isn't as inventive as "The Truman Show," which it resembles in some ways, but it explores interesting ideas with nimble humor.
  12. While amusing and sometimes touching, Pleasantville is far from challenging.
  13. Delightful as it often is, the picture suffers fom the same structural and thematic tidiness, even smugness, that it nominally opposes.
  14. 70
    It's tough not to respond to the visual cleverness of Pleasantville.
  15. 70
    The results are charming if rarely thrilling, with outstanding performances from Joan Allen and William H. Macy.
  16. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    Terrific idea, brilliantly worked out on a technical level.
  17. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    Eventually falls into the same candy-coated trap it's trying to expose. But the fact that a movie can acknowledge the trap exists is a step in the right direction.
  18. Reviewed by: Jack Kroll
    A complex, entertaining film that may have more ideas than it can handle, but certainly has real ideas.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    An epic-size, largely entertaining parable of repression and awakening.
  20. 70
    Lacks the edge and depth of a truly inspired work.
  21. 67
    May not be as successful as it is ambitious, but you could do worse than to spend a few hours there.
  22. Reviewed by: Marc Caro
    More clever than coherent.
  23. Reviewed by: Sandra Contreras
    His (Ross) sophisticated handling -- and the efforts of his able cast, notably the stellar Joan Allen -- produces a surprisingly accomplished cumulative effect.
  24. 60
    Funny for about half an hour, Pleasantville thereafter becomes an increasingly lugubrious, ultimately exasperating mix of technological wonder and ideological idiocy.
  25. Technical elegance and fine performances mask the shallowness of a story as simpleminded as the '50s TV to which it condescends; certainly it's got none of the depth, poignance, and brilliance of "The Truman Show," the recent TV-is-stifling drama that immediately comes to mind.
  26. When Ross gets serious and grasps for allegorical import, Pleasantville bogs down in mixed ambitions.
  27. The movie's simplistic storyline does not match its stunning visual accomplishments: Pleasantville's story is drawn from a palette that's strictly limited to black-and-white.
  28. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    Ross might have been better served by dismissing verisimilitude altogether and going for a real fable-fable to make what is essentially a very simple point about the dangers and rewards of accepting life's beautiful risks.
  29. Ross' missive is earnest and well-intentioned, but it's difficult not to feel that his film both runs on too long and overreaches its dramatic resources in its attempt to deliver it.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. FromHolland;)
    Oct 30, 2005
    I really enjoyed watching this movie.
  2. Oct 2, 2013
    Offering up some fantastic visual disparities, some forthright cultural criticism, and a bounty of dramedic moments, "Pleasantville" surmounts a rocky first fifteen minutes and ultimately sails into the boundaries of a fantastic work of art. Full Review »
  3. Apr 28, 2014
    A re-watch of PLEASANTVILLE from writer-director Gary Ross (THE HUNGER GAMES 2012, 7/10) is as pleasant as it the title suggests, a really novel cautionary tale coated with a profound satire milieu. It is a golden idea to juxtapose monochrome with colourful graduation concurring with the evolving storyline. A present-day (1990s) high school siblings David (Maguire) and Jennifer (Witherspoon) have been transported inside their TV, as Bud and Mary Sue, the children of George and Betty Parker (H. Macy and Allen), living in a small black & white town called Pleasantville, based on a sitcom of 1950s where all its residents are also exclusively black and white and comport themselves in a monotonous harmony with storybook unconsciousness of their own feelings, books are blank, toilets are empty spaces, basket-shooting accuracy is 100%, fire and rain are non-existent, parents never hear about sex, the lovey-dovey Lovers’ Lane is the place where young couples go for holding hands.

    read rest of the review at my blog, google cinema omnivore.
    Full Review »