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8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 118 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 1 out of 118
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  1. FromHolland;)
    Oct 30, 2005
    9
    I really enjoyed watching this movie.
  2. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The film Pleasantville is a story of a conformist boy, and his rebellious sister, that live in a less than perfect world. One day, when the boy is about to watch a marathon of a show that he is literally obsessed with (supposedly to win prize money, but I’m sure it’s just an excuse to watch his favorite show, but that’s beside the point), he realizes that her sister has a date and was planning on using the living room television. When they were fighting over their remote control, they end up tugging it too hard and they break it in half, rendering the television useless (apparently there were no controls on the box itself). Then, when it breaks, a TV repair man, comes in to their home from nowhere, and he gives them a replacement remote that he says “has a little extra kick to it” in succession to eerie lightning on a dark night, when this mysterious man comes in from nowhere, with a Deus Ex Machina to just solve all there problems, I’m sure the character Toby Maguire was portraying just thought, “This doesn’t smell fishy at all.”, and he went on his merry way. When they used this totally safe remote though, they magically flashed out of existence in the real world, and they somehow ended up in the fictitious black and white, perfect world of Pleasantville. Eventually though, they end up noticing some odd changes within the world.
    The story of Pleasantville, despite taking place in modern times (well, sort of), has a lot of similarities to the story of what happened in the Garden of Eden. Most of the similarities have to do with the similar themes on change, and the parallels between the original books, and Pleasantville’s plot. Such as the world going into color, in Eden Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, and in Pleasantville, people started to see color. There were also some similarities between the characters. The TV repair man was like this stories god, god put Adam and Eve in Eden, and the TV repair man put Bud and Mary sue in Pleasantville. Also there is Mary Sue; she plays the role of the snake, and of Eve. She causes change in the world of Pleasantville, and shechanges Bud, who takes on the role of Adam, and somewhat god as well, as he doesn’t want change. There is also similarities in the setting, Eden was a perfect place with no evil in it before the snake came in and changed everything, and Pleasantville was always… pleasant before Mary Sue came there and started causing change.
    Despite this, there are also a lot of differences, as Pleasantville is neither really an adaption, nor an interpretation of the beginning of genesis. In the story of Eden, change is not viewed as a good thing at all, but in Pleasantville, it is viewed as a good thing (although both of these happened under different circumstances where in Eden nothing had to change, but in Pleasantville, change was for the better both for the characters and the plot). There are also the obvious differences in the setting, and the time. The Pleasantville takes place in the 50’s, and Eden takes place at the beginning of humanity (although they are both secluded from the rest of the world and both... somewhat take place a long time ago… I suppose). Also, the main difference, which is the plot, and the way it’s told. Pleasantville is a lot more drawn out then the bible story, and tells the entire thing of what happened after the change in more detail, although I suppose what happened after is the entire rest of the old and new testaments, as well as you know… life. Still though, as I said before Pleasantville is not adapting the old bible story, it is simply mirroring some of the events and consequences through its own story.
    As you know if you’ve paid attention, the main plot consists of people getting sucked into a family sitcom; does that happen in the bible? Well, if you answered yes, then conglaturationYOU ARE AN OFFICIAL TROLL! So, no it does in no way emulate the story of the original. It does however, get the idea right, the story is well written, and follows the themes well. Also, it doesn’t only focus on mirroring Eden, it also deals with ideas such as discrimination in the great depression, and rebellion during the rock n roll era. There was even an allusion to the story “to kill a mocking bird” which I found interesting. Even early in the story, everyone was either a nerd, or a jock, later in the diner after color starts to appear, there is even a greaser, which were rebellious leather jacket wearers in the 50’s, that you’d probably meet in a gang (see grease or something, the main cast is a gang). Yeah so, even though it doesn’t follow Eden’s plot, it has its own story to follow.
    Also, the film uses symbols as a way to get it’s point across. Such as the main, and most obvious one, it’s use of color. Color represents change, and rebellion. One of the main colors, and the first one they used, red is a symbol that often represents, things that are rebellious, evil, devious, or sly, and impure as used in things such as animation, and other things. There is also other more subtle symbols in the film as well, such as rock n roll which was a rebellious and revolutionary music form, that many people disliked, as well as supported when it first started. Rock n roll was even called demonic by some churches at the time, and that may also be an indirect reference to the bible.
    So, to give my opinion on the film… I think it is great! Even if you ignore all the callbacks to other stories (which all had purpose by the way) it is still a great film, and stands on its own very well. It has great acting, such as Toby Maguire, who portrays Bud, he absolutely nails his roll and he is hilarious (he’s had practice I suppose, as he’s type cast as a nerd in almost every film he’s been in… which isn’t many for some odd reason). There is also the actor that plays the dad, I love how clueless he is all the time, such as when he yells “WHERE’S MY DINNER?!”. The story is very interesting as well, and even though the premise is a bit overdone, just people getting sucked into an alternate world has been used countless times (such as the page master), but Pleasantville does it in an interesting way, that is very humorous and interesting to watch. I think that despite all of its references to other works, and it’s inspiration it takes from other things, it is still a great story on its own without even knowing what it is referencing and is such an entertaining story. So, that is pretty much all I can say about Pleasantville without delving too far into a subject that might not even relate, because I do sometimes tend to ramble, such as this one time when I… never mind. Just enjoy this great film that I would probably recommend to several people.
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  3. Feb 26, 2015
    10
    Pleasantville!
    The two stories Genesis and Pleasantville have many similarity and differences. Comparing the story they have almost the same moral and almost same way of change. Without comparing the stories how we did. These two stories have a lot of similarities and differences.
    Some similarities of the two stories are the themes “Change” and “Knowledge”. Change is something that
    Pleasantville!
    The two stories Genesis and Pleasantville have many similarity and differences. Comparing the story they have almost the same moral and almost same way of change. Without comparing the stories how we did. These two stories have a lot of similarities and differences.
    Some similarities of the two stories are the themes “Change” and “Knowledge”. Change is something that happened in both stories but at different times. Change Is Important to these stories by giving the story a background. For example change caused the conflict in Pleasantville by changing people behavior and color. This caused conflict because Jennifer Added sex to the world of Pleasantville. This caused many distractions for the basketball team causing them to miss their shots. In the story of Genesis has immediate change when they eat the apple, there for they don’t get the perfect lifestyle anymore. The gain of Knowledge Is something in the stories, as the characters progressed farther in the story. Having the Knowledge in the stories made the outcome a lot different on how the viewer perceives it and how they would have. With the similarities there are also differences.
    In the two stories they have many opposing differences such as how they are presented and the meaning behind them. These two stories are presented differently fist off that one is a book and one is a movie, but besides that these stories are different by the time they were based and written. Pleasantville was set in a more modern time around the 1940’s to 1950’s while Genesis was written way back in the BCE. The meaning behind these stories where almost exactly opposite. While Genesis meant to be set up perfectly and should be kept that way, never to change. On the other side of things in Pleasantville is try to say don’t do what your “supposed” unless it’s necessary.
    The theme of this story was the effect little changes make big differences happen. Then this is put to the stories it makes them really similar. Using this theme makes the stories entertaining, and fun to watch/Read. Without the theme of each of these stories, I’m pretty sure that I would not understand the stories as well as I do now.
    Between the two stories the difference and the similarities really tie together. Both stories where entertaining but still had a meaning behind it. While these meaning maybe complete opposite ideas/meaning but they still have many similarities in quite a few words.
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  4. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    In this review I want to talk about how I compare and don’t compare how Pleasantville & Adam & Eve are the same in almost every way.
    The similarities with the Adam & Eve Story & Pleasantville might have the same idea, but have different morals. For example when Mary Sue and her boyfriend went to Lover’s Lane, she taught him how to have sex. Then the next day, he told his friends about it
    In this review I want to talk about how I compare and don’t compare how Pleasantville & Adam & Eve are the same in almost every way.
    The similarities with the Adam & Eve Story & Pleasantville might have the same idea, but have different morals. For example when Mary Sue and her boyfriend went to Lover’s Lane, she taught him how to have sex. Then the next day, he told his friends about it and then they all went to Lover’s Lane with their girlfriends and started to have sex. In Adam & Eve, things were a bit different. When Eve was attempted to eat an apple off the tree, she tried hard to let herself to not eat one, but the serpent from the tree tricked her into eating one, then she got Adam to eat an apple also. And when God came down to earth, he was very upset and mad at both Adam & Eve for eating the apples. So they had to payed the price and had to leave the garden and learn to survive in the desert on their own, But in the end they learned from their mistakes and lived their lives on.
    In think the easiest way to explain how these things are both different is that Pleasantville is mostly about how two people who changed a lot of things in a town that was so meant to be “pleasant” and not “unpleasant” and Adam & Eve is about two people who live in a Garden that learn to grow and harvest crops, but in the end they end up living in the hot desert because of what they did wrong.
    In my opinion I think yes because of the fact that in the movie both Mary and Bud changed some much about alot of things that they to make the best out of it and fix what they did wrong. In Adam & Eve they had to leave the Garden to live in a hot desert. In the end they learned to make life best by having children and learning to survive in that climate.
    Honestly if you’re a really good Christin, then I would recommend to not watch this, based on the fact that it will either offend you or be deceiving to you, but if you like really good movies that have a good plot twist, then I would recommend that you choose this movie next to watch on your list.
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  5. Feb 26, 2015
    10
    Most films made are adaptations or reinterpretations of a novel or existing film. It may seem like making them would be simple. But they all come with a set of complications. Directors could incidentally change main parts of the story, or change parts on purpose, and change the entire story, making movie critics all over the world disappointed or glad about the changes to the story.
    While
    Most films made are adaptations or reinterpretations of a novel or existing film. It may seem like making them would be simple. But they all come with a set of complications. Directors could incidentally change main parts of the story, or change parts on purpose, and change the entire story, making movie critics all over the world disappointed or glad about the changes to the story.
    While watching Pleasantville I thought it was a simple film about change because everything was changing to the opposite of what it started at. But after looking at it closely I realized it’s actually a reinterpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, and like all films it came with its set of complications.
    For the film to be a reinterpretation of the story it has to have similarities. In both there were two main characters. In Pleasantville David is the obedient character who is Adam; Jennifer is the rebel who is Eve. David and Adam both wanted to follow the rules and avoid trouble, but in the end they both broke a rule. Jennifer would break most rules and not care about the consequences; Eve was easily tempted into breaking a rule without thinking about its effect. By the end they both realized that you should think of what consequences your actions will have before acting. The quiet calm, Pleasantville is the quiet and beautiful garden in Adam and Eve. In both stories an apple is the main object, but they symbolize something different. The themes in both stories are change and knowledge. In both, the setting, personalities of characters, and knowledge known, changed throughout the story.
    Differences are what changed the messages of the stories. People in Pleasantville and Adam and Eve all started out not knowing about anything other than the place they were in. In Pleasantville Jennifer and David introduce knowledge to everyone. The knowledge is not wanted by all, some think it is bad, but in the end it makes Pleasantville better. In the garden a serpent convinces Eve to eat an apple from the forbidden tree. She then convinces Adam to also eat and apple. The apple gives both of them knowledge. For them their lives did not improve. They gained knowledge, but lost their trust to god and were punished and banished from the garden for breaking their only rule: to not eat from the forbidden tree. In Pleasantville the apple represents goodness and knowledge. In Adam and Eve it represents dangerous, forbidden, and goodness. The messages from both stories are the opposite of each other. The message from Adam and Eve is that increase in knowledge and change is not good, that it should not happen. The message from Pleasantville is that increase in knowledge and change is good, that they are important and should happen.
    Pleasantville does have similarities to the story of Adam and Eve. But it has more differences. I think that it is not a good reinterpretation of Adam and Eve because the main parts, the apple and the message, are not the same. I believe that in order for the story to be a reinterpretation its message has to be identical to the original. If the message is not the same, the tone and mood change, making the entire story different. Pleasantville’s message is the opposite of Adam and Eve’s, and the apples also represent the opposite making Pleasantville a new different story. It is still an interpretation of the story, but not one that I would approve of.
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  6. Feb 26, 2015
    10
    A great movie for teaching students themes and messages that will resonate with them, such as the difference between purposeless and purposeful conformity and rebellion. Also a great movie for English teachers to use to teach allegory, symbolism and allusion as well as help students practice elements of literary analysis in a fun and more accessible manner. It has some rough spots and theA great movie for teaching students themes and messages that will resonate with them, such as the difference between purposeless and purposeful conformity and rebellion. Also a great movie for English teachers to use to teach allegory, symbolism and allusion as well as help students practice elements of literary analysis in a fun and more accessible manner. It has some rough spots and the viewer is sometimes forced to suspend disbelief, but from a teacher's point of view, this movie is a perfect 10. Expand
  7. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    Adam and Eve is a very old story that is well known to everybody. Many stories and other types of media have taken heavy inspiration from the story that originated in the Bible. One of the many movies that have taken the inspiration is the movie Pleasantville. In the movie, Adam and Eve are never mentioned at all. The only think we have to guess that it took inspiration from the story isAdam and Eve is a very old story that is well known to everybody. Many stories and other types of media have taken heavy inspiration from the story that originated in the Bible. One of the many movies that have taken the inspiration is the movie Pleasantville. In the movie, Adam and Eve are never mentioned at all. The only think we have to guess that it took inspiration from the story is the same basic theme. While both shares a main theme of sorts, each has certain messages that they attempt to get across to their respected audiences.
    Even though they share a general theme, a lot of the main points and messages are different. In Adam and Eve, God created Adam and Eve and placed them into the world. He told them they could do whatever they wanted as long as they did not eat an apple from the tree of knowledge. Originally they were not going to eat the apple, but then the Devil in the form of a snack tricked Eve into eating the apple, forcing Adam and Eve to disobey God’s only order. In Pleasantville, David and Jennifer get stuck in a different world than where they are from. There are already several people living in the town when they arrive. Also when they arrive, they are given no certain instructions of what to do and what not to do. Jennifer does not like how everyone is perfect and does everything the same way. She starts to add color to the world and change how people act.
    The similarities between the two stories make it seem like the director was taking heavy inspiration from the story of Adam and Eve. In both stories, a man and a woman are placed in a world that they really know nothing about. In both of them, they are given simple rules that they have to follow but end up breaking the rules. The apple is represented in both stories as a sign of disobedience, in Adam and Eve it represents them not listening to God and in Pleasantville it represents them changing the world they are in. The main similarity between the two stories is the main idea and theme. The main theme of the stories has to do with change and how important it is to sometimes go against the rules.
    In my opinion, the producer of the movie did a good job of making the movie Pleasantville. Not once throughout the movie did the producer actually mention Adam and Eve in any way. He just used several amounts of symbolisms to reference Adam and Eve. It is clear that this movie was meant to be a more modern story of the Bible story. I think it is a good thing that they never actually talked about Adam and Eve and never brought it up. It makes the audience think more about what the movie is trying to say. In my opinion, the producer and director did a good job with creating this movie and did a good job of making it like Adam and Eve, but allowing it to be its own story.
    The story of Adam and Eve and the movie “Pleasantville” had several differences and similarities. The old story is well known to everyone and has had several adaptations in other stories and movies. One of the many to do so was the movie Pleasantville. But there where so many differences in the movie that it felt like it was an original story. It took heavy inspiration from the old Biblical story and in a good way. In my opinion, the movie was a good adaptation of the story of Adam and Eve.
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  8. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Pleasantville Movie Review
    Pleasantville is a movie that is parallel to the Bible story of Adam and Eve. In this assignment, I will be explaining the similarities, the differences and my critique on the movie and the original story.
    Pleasantville has many similarities when compared to the story of Adam and Eve, but in different ways. They have similar settings because in Pleasantville, everything was simple and without sin, and it’s the same in the Bible story. In Pleasantville, there are animals and there are also animals in the Bible. The characters enter the world by being placed there by God or the TV repair man. Sin is introduced into the world by the characters and it changes everything.
    The characters are also similar in their own ways. Bud, or David, is the same as Adam from the Bible because of their characteristics. Bud really doesn’t try to change anything in the world like Adam. They also start off as whole of something or filled with too much of something else. For Bud, he is filled with being a nerd or obsessed with television while Adam is filled with purity or cleanliness. Jennifer, or Mary Sue, is also like Eve from the Bible. She is rebellious and doesn’t follow rules but not in the same way. Jennifer is rebellious because she is full of sin and she teaches Pleasantville how to have sex and teaches the parents of self-pleasure. Eve is also the same way. She introduces sin into the world, but not intentionally, by eating the forbidden fruit. She teaches it to the world by giving it also to her husband, Adam. The TV repair man is also the same as God from the Bible. He acts as a god controlling Pleasantville and he also gets mad at Jennifer and Bud for changing everything and changing themselves, the same as God in the Bible.

    These two stories also have their fair amount of differences between each other. Pleasantville is set in the future after the Bible story. The characters in Pleasantville are brother and sister while in the Bible they are married. Jennifer changes the world by introducing sin but she does consciously and she knows what she is doing while Eve is tricked by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit and she doesn't know of what she does. The TV repair man who acted like a god couldn’t really make any changes. He tried to make the Bud and Jennifer come back to the real world but they stayed and he really didn’t have power. But God in the Bible has power and when he doesn’t like their sin, he kicks them out of the Garden of Eden and they can’t fight back or stay. In the movie, there are people other than the main characters and in the Bible, there are no other humans but only animals. In Pleasantville, there are buildings while there aren’t any buildings in the Bible. The themes are also different. Change, sin, and rebellion are looked on as a positive thing in Pleasantville while they are viewed as negative things in the Bible. The message in the Bible is that sin is bad while in the movie, change is good.
    I think the director did a good job with his interpretation of the movie because it stuck to the core theme, setting, and characters but he gave it his own twist. It had the same plot of the story but in the movie, everything seems better and happier as opposed to in the Bible as change is viewed as a bad thing. He also went much into detail of the sin and change going on in the world and how everything reacted to it. He included what sins or changes they were doing like sex, reading, color, self-pleasure etc. They are the same as In the Bible but he goes specifically into detail with it.
    The two stories have both their similarities and differences but the director of Pleasantville told it in his own unique way. He gives it his own twist by having a good ending and everyone's lives are better and happier. I do think it is a good representation of the original Bible story because it sticks to the core theme, setting and characters but they are changed throughout the story.
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  9. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    Most movies are adaptations of another idea or story. In this case, Pleasant Ville is an adaptation of Adam and Eve. The movie was directed to be symbolic and artsy for the purpose of showing the Adam and Eve story. Here and there, some tweaks were movie, but still will show the similarities between the two.
    The overall themes in Adam and Eve are kept and used truly in Pleasant Ville.
    Most movies are adaptations of another idea or story. In this case, Pleasant Ville is an adaptation of Adam and Eve. The movie was directed to be symbolic and artsy for the purpose of showing the Adam and Eve story. Here and there, some tweaks were movie, but still will show the similarities between the two.
    The overall themes in Adam and Eve are kept and used truly in Pleasant Ville. Themes include change, rebellion, and curiosity. Change is shown by the people’s attitudes changing, color developing, and emotions. Rebellion is shown by the acts people do based on the changes. Lastly, curiosity is the people exploring new things with their feelings, emotions, interests, etc.
    The characters in Adam and Eve are the inspirations for Jennifer and David. Both Jennifer and Eve are rebellious and curious. Adam and David are both followers. The TV repairman represents God, when in Genesis, God is God. The characters are most key in the process of retelling a story because they have to stay true to the original.
    The settings are entirely different in the movie than In Genesis. Genesis is back in BCE times. Pleasant Ville is set in the 1950’s. The purposes of these differences are to re tell Genesis in a different society and time period. Besides the setting, most things in Pleasant Ville stay quite true to Genesis.
    Overall, Pleasant Ville is a great adaptation of Genesis. The Director symbolically retells the story of Adam and Eve very well. For ratings, I would give Pleasant Vile 4 out of 5. Other Professional critiques would agree or even give it a straight 5 out of 5. It’s an artsy well directed film.
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  10. BenW.
    Oct 12, 2003
    10
    It's brilliant. It works so well not just as a fairy tale about 90's teenagers sucked into a 1950's sitcom, but also as a parable about the difficult changes that the people in that era had to endure as they entered the 60's. The special effects are gorgeous, and are actually especially powerful as well. After viewing the film in black & white for some time, I really It's brilliant. It works so well not just as a fairy tale about 90's teenagers sucked into a 1950's sitcom, but also as a parable about the difficult changes that the people in that era had to endure as they entered the 60's. The special effects are gorgeous, and are actually especially powerful as well. After viewing the film in black & white for some time, I really had a appreciation for color. Segments that were in black & white and color are fantastic too. It's one of my favorite movies EVER. Expand
  11. Scottm
    Aug 12, 2003
    10
    I try to critique movies the best i can but i honestly have to say that this film was as close to perfect as a movie can get. Witherspoon and the town sex liberation isnt trying to be shallow it just shows that kids are making mistakes like normal teens. Great movie.
  12. JustinM.
    Nov 3, 2005
    9
    This film contains so many themes relevent to human nature: culture clash, art and censorship, intolerance and acceptance, reactionism, the list goes on. The performances are extremely believeable and genuine in the face of such a fantastical story. The visual achievements alone make this film worth a watch. The cinematography is a great mix between modern techniques and 1950s TV and film This film contains so many themes relevent to human nature: culture clash, art and censorship, intolerance and acceptance, reactionism, the list goes on. The performances are extremely believeable and genuine in the face of such a fantastical story. The visual achievements alone make this film worth a watch. The cinematography is a great mix between modern techniques and 1950s TV and film noir style. This film is a rare thing: a visually breathtaking story with real substance. Expand
  13. JackL.
    Jul 25, 2007
    9
    This movie is great!!! I love it. It contains many themes and messages that allow you watch the film many times because most likely you will not understand everything at the first time. The concept is profound and poignant. This movie should have received a 80/100 by the critics at least.
  14. Feb 26, 2015
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Movie Review
    Pleasantville is actually based off a true story in the bible known as Adam and Eve. Pleasantville and Adam and Eve have pretty much the same concept except there are many similarities and differences. The movie Pleasantville is about siblings who are David and Jennifer getting stuck into a TV Show but in the TV Show A.K.A Pleasantville is pretty much where everything is perfect and nobody ever really breaks the rules but it’s hard for Jennifer because in the real world she is a rebel and never really follows the rules. David is the type to follow the rules also because he’s watched every episode there has been so he knows everything to know about it but as he keeps living there he tends to break the rules and traditions without really even noticing it and a lot of things change when Jennifer and David get there
    Differences
    There are many differences in the story Adam and Eve and the movie Pleasantville such as in the movie there are a lot of more people and in Adam and Eve there is only 2 people also the movie is way more recent then Adam and eve. The changing is also very different because in Adam and Eve they are sinning but in Pleasantville they’re just changing and technically there is nothing wrong with that

    Similarities
    There are many Similarities in the movie Pleasantville and in Adam and Eve such as they’re both put up to a challenge and they both fail also because they both in a way have a concept in god that keeps telling them things not to do but they ended up doing them anyway by doing the things they’re not supposed to the way they see things changed like in Pleasantville they see color and in Adam and Eve they see each other naked so the way they continue to live their lives changed
    Critique
    I think the writers of Pleasantville did a good job at making it compare to the Adam and Eve story in the bible they both ended up having the same message but not really in the same way but I could see how in a way they both had to do something with god also how once they did something they weren’t supposed to do it opened up there eyes but after all of it I think they both had good concepts and messages in them
    Conclusion
    Over all I think they both had a lot of similarities and differences that both told different messages but they were life learning messages such as sometimes change is a good thing or change could be a really bad thing. I loved both of these stories and the themes to them and how they were a lot alike and a lot different reading both of them really helped
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Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 80
    Offers effortless charm, wit, and originality in spades.
  2. 70
    Lacks the edge and depth of a truly inspired work.
  3. 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.