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

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8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 118 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 mysteriousIn 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
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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. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    90
    Ingeniously conceived and impressively executed, Pleasantville is a provocative, complex and surprisingly anti-nostalgic parable.
  3. 80
    To concentrate on the minor faults of a fable as beautiful and unusual as Pleasantville would be missing the point.
  4. 70
    It's tough not to respond to the visual cleverness of Pleasantville.
  5. 70
    The results are charming if rarely thrilling, with outstanding performances from Joan Allen and William H. Macy.
  6. 60
    Funny for about half an hour, Pleasantville thereafter becomes an increasingly lugubrious, ultimately exasperating mix of technological wonder and ideological idiocy.
  7. When Ross gets serious and grasps for allegorical import, Pleasantville bogs down in mixed ambitions.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 47
  2. Negative: 1 out of 47
  1. Feb 26, 2015
    10
    Pleasantville!
    The two stories Genesis and Pleasantville have many similarity and differences. Comparing the story they have almost the same
    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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  2. 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 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
  3. 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
    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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  4. Feb 26, 2015
    8
    Pleasantville Essay.
    Imagine a world where everything is perfect, in the movie Pleasantville and the story of Adam and Eve everything is
    Pleasantville Essay.
    Imagine a world where everything is perfect, in the movie Pleasantville and the story of Adam and Eve everything is perfect, or is it? In this essay I’m going to be talking about how in a perfect world things can change and how things can change when you least expect it, but also how the story and the movie are so similar and different at the same time.
    There are so many similarities and differences between the movie and the story, and you can see what most of them are, like some differences is how in the story Adam and Eve are man and wife and in the movie Jennifer and Buddy happen to be sister and brother. Another difference would be that Adam and Eve live in a garden while Jennifer and Buddy live in a town. And one more difference would be that in the story Adam and Eve live in a colorful world but Jennifer and Buddy live in a black and white world because it’s a TV show.

    Now there are similarities also and some of them might be that in both the book and the movie they involve two people who are boy and girl, also there similar because they both go through a big change and it changes their whole world. Another similarity is how they both have people who represent god like Adam and Eve are with god and in the book a TV repair man represents god in a way because he sent them to Pleasantville, and one last one would be that both worlds are perfect.
    Now I want to say that I think that they did a an amazing job on the way they compered the movie to the story of Adam and Eve and that you can learn a lot from them and that the message was kind of similar in a away like the message I think was that change is good and don’t be afraid to change.

    To sum it all up they both have many differences and similarities and they both tell you a message, I honestly loved both the movie and story and how they tell you change Isn’t that bad sometimes.
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  5. Feb 26, 2015
    7
    Pleasantville and the reading from genesis have many differences and similarities. In this essay I will give my own review on the movie andPleasantville and the reading from genesis have many differences and similarities. In this essay I will give my own review on the movie and explain those differences and similarities. Both the movie and the reading have much to write to about so sit back, and relax.
    Well to start off if you didn't know the movie is a representation of the reading but told in its own way, The Garden of Eden turned into a town with people who are perfect. Adam represented by a character named Bud and Eve represented by a character named Mary Sue. So Pleasantville the Garden of Eden in the way where nothing is bad and everything is perfect. This is something big in the story except for The Garden of Eden doesn't turn out that way. Pleasantville, even after tampered with, turns out to still be perfect.
    Another similarity between the movie and the story are the characters. Bud and Mary Sue are extremely similar to Adam and Eve. People are meant to change the way they live for example, Mary sue and Bud changed Pleasantville by adding color. A difference between the two are the fact that Eve is obedient until she was persuaded to do what was wrong unlike Mary Sue who was naturally bad until the end of the movie where she reads the books and puts on the glasses then becomes like everyone else.
    Also a difference between the story and the movie is that Pleasantville was meant to change the way it was it was meant to have color meant to change instead of perfect it turned into working their way to perfection. In the story the Garden of Eden was not meant to change it was meant to be perfect it should never change yet when Eve took a bite out of the apple God decided to kick both Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and look elsewhere for salvation.
    Finally my thoughts on the way the director portrayed the story in the movie was not bad at all, yes there where some places where the movie could use some improvement but all in all it wasn't bad. For example they could have used a better way to show that it can be a bad thing messing with people’s life, but other than that I did think the director did a good job on the portrayal of the story of the Garden of Eden. The movie did have a lot of major differences and similarities, but in all I did like the movie I enjoyed the character build and the story line, finally the rating 9.5/10
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  6. Feb 26, 2015
    7
    Pleasantville Movie Review
    By Alex Lopez
    Pleasantville is a movie based off of a story in the Bible, “Adam and Eve”. Pleasantville and the
    Pleasantville Movie Review
    By Alex Lopez

    Pleasantville is a movie based off of a story in the Bible, “Adam and Eve”. Pleasantville and the story of Adam and Eve have many similarities as well as differences. Pleasantville is a story about a sister, Jennifer, and a brother, David. David is kind of a nerd type guy that always likes to follow the rules. Jennifer is someone who likes to rebel and break the rules. So they’re almost complete opposite. They are both high school students in their teenage years. When Jennifer goes to watch a movie with her boyfriend, her brother wants to watch Pleasantville, which is a TV show that he really likes, and doesn’t wanna miss it. But as they are fighting over the remote, it gets thrown across the room and breaks. In a few seconds (yes, seconds), a “TV Repair Man” comes into their house and gives them a new remote. When David presses the “On” button on the new remote to use the TV, both Jennifer and David get sucked into the TV show, Pleasantville! While they’re in Pleasantville, they are supposed to stick to the program, but things get a little different when Jennifer and David come along.

    Similarities

    There are many similarities between the movie Pleasantville and the story of Adam and Eve. Firstly, it all started off as perfect. Pleasantville was a very happy place. It had no crime, no pain, nothing but happiness. Same thing with the story of Adam and Eve. When they were first there in the Garden of Eden, things were perfect. No shame, no pain, no crime. But then Adam and Eve were tempted to sin by the serpent. In the Bible, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat from any tree in the garden, except for one. Which was the tree of knowledge between good and evil. The serpent tempted Eve to eat a fruit from that tree. Then she gave some of it to Adam. When they ate the fruit, it brought sin and death to the entire human race. Which is similar to when Davids girlfriend fed him the apple, and it started raining, which represents lust. Another similarity was when the TV repair man told David to stop changing the show. In the Bible, God confronts Adam and Eve about what they have done. So in a way, the TV repair man can represent God.

    Differences
    As well as there being many similarities between the Bible and Pleasantville, there is also a lot of differences between the two stories. In the Bible, when Adam and Eve sin it brings death. But in Pleasantville, they aren’t “sinning” but rather experiencing change. And when they do change, instead of bringing death, it brings color to the world of Pleasantville. Another difference is that Pleasantville was a story that occurred in the 50s, and the story of Adam and Eve was in the beginning of time. In the Bible, when Adam and Eve sinned they made clothes out of leaves to hide from God. In Pleasantville when they change, they are in color. It’s a very shameful thing to be in color in Pleasantville, so David and Jennifer’s “mom” covers herself in black and white makeup so that she can hide from being colored.

    Critique

    I think the creators of Pleasantville did a very good job at comparing it to the Bible. Both stories represent change, but in different ways. In Pleasantville, change is a good thing. In the Bible, knowledge is a bad thing. I could definitely tell that the Bible and Pleasantville were similar stories. I could see that the author of Pleasantville wanted to relate to the Bible because of the ways he made the scenes of Pleasantville, but they were not in the same ways. They both had very similar messages, but they were expressed in different ways. This is where all of the differences come into play In Pleasantville, they experienced change. In the Bible, they experienced sin. In Pleasantville when they changed, they were in color. And they found it shameful to be in color. In the Bible, when they sinned they were also shameful, and they hid themselves from God. The author of Pleasantville did a great job at comparing it to the Bible, as it has many scenes and characters that are very similar. David’s girlfriend can be thought of as Eve, when she fed him the apple. The TV repair man could be thought of as God, who was instructing them and in a way, look after them. And how books can be considered a way of exploration to the originally forbidden. And in the Bible, the forbidden fruit played a similar one.
    Conclusion

    Overall, the creators of Pleasantville did a great job at comparing both stories together. They added aspects of the Bible into the movie Pleasantville, but incorporated the characters, actions and scenes into more semi-modern times.
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  7. Feb 26, 2015
    3
    Pleasantville movie review
    I recently saw the movie Pleasantville; overall it was a good flic with few honest flaws. I was able to understand
    Pleasantville movie review
    I recently saw the movie Pleasantville; overall it was a good flic with few honest flaws. I was able to understand most connections and the great acts of symbolism threw out the film. Now before I begin I’d like to say this review is coming from a high school teen that dose has religious beliefs and morals. And I believe this movie was a great adaptation of the story of Adam and Eve from genesis. And this was a good movie and keep in mind this movie dose have sexual references and parcel nudity.
    First off I’d like to let you know this review is coming from a teen. But I do follow Christian morals and have a lot of knowledge about the original bile story. First the story is set in the Garden of Eden, a perfect place designed by God with no sin. God made Adam, the first man out of the dirt of the earth in his image. Then god saw Adam was lonely had had no mate or helper, even out of all the animals Adam had just named. So god put Adam into a deep sleep and removed one of his ribs to form Eve, the first woman.
    Within the garden there was god Adam and eve but there was only one rule, shall not eat from the tree of knowledge with good and evil. Since were human eve wondered toward the forbidden tree, then a snake/serpent appeared. The snake told eve to try the fruit, its fine. After eve took a bite she offered Adam a bite. After they relised they were nude and covered themselves with the nearby vegetation. God called out to them and asked them why they are covered and hiding. For god know what they had done and banished them out of the perfect garden to toil over the earth and have pain with child birth.
    The movie PLEASENTVILLE is an adaptation of this story. So within the film there are many connections between the two. First color is a large part of the change, red represents lust, we see this in the apples and roses on lover’s lane. Pink is love innocent love like the cherry blossoms that bud and his girlfriend drives through. Green means envy like the new car in front of the dinner throughout the movie. The best thing that shows how the color shows is the mural of the town ion the side of the police department. The color is a true word less symbol.
    Last Adam is resented by bud, quit and laid back. Eve is represented by Jennie takes charge and truly brings sin into the world. Overall this movie was good and an awesome adaptation of the original bible story. Both stories begin perfect and controlled by a main male person, god is represnted by the tv man.
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