Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In Gary Ross' daring modern fairy tale Pleasantville, an entire fictional town is granted a chance to experience the comedies, and dangers of real life. In this fantastical adventure, two late 20th Century teenagers (Maguire, Witherspoon) accidentally bring living color to a mysterious suburb trapped in a black-and-white 50's utopia -- and set off a revolution. (New Line Cinema) Expand
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. Magical, visually exciting, affecting even in its sincere hokeyness, and extremely provocative.
  3. 80
    To concentrate on the minor faults of a fable as beautiful and unusual as Pleasantville would be missing the point.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    An epic-size, largely entertaining parable of repression and awakening.
  5. 70
    The results are charming if rarely thrilling, with outstanding performances from Joan Allen and William H. Macy.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

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. JustinM.
    Nov 3, 2005
    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
  3. JackL.
    Jul 25, 2007
    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. Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. 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.

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