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Pleasantville (1998)
Short plot summary

Yikes! David and Jennifer Wagner (Toby Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) are teenage brother and sister. Their TV remote control breaks Darn it! when they are fighting and a mysterious repairman knocks on the door as if knowing what they had just done... He is a fan of Pleasantville, a black and white feel good family sitcom of the 1950's, as is David. The repairman gives David a special remote and they are transported into the actual sitcom, black and white and all... Jeepers!

Perfectly pleasant, if dull, Pleasantville, is about to become colourized in a spectacular and intelligent satire on social values when confronted with change, and particularly civil rights for those outside the mainstream. Awesome! Brilliant! Fantastic! Stunning!

What our panel of critics thought

"Oh, Gary Ross (Director/Writer) you are a clever one. Using that 'No Coloreds' poster to such good effect. Here it means no colorized persons by the way, a brilliant reworking of an old ucky chestnut."

"Why couldn't that black-and-white-with-that-red-coat movie Schindlers List have been as funny as this one? Was Spielberg playing for laughs or what?"

"A black-and-white-and-some-coloured-bits triumph of cinematography in the digital age."

"I had a television like that once."

"This movie had more special effects than any in its time."

Please tell me the ending or plot overview if necessary

It seems that any person who has feelings, be it love or anger, get colorized. Eventually the whole town turns into full color.

David is called home by the TV repairman so that he can undo all the colorful damage done by our heroes. Jennifer stays behind in Pleasantville.

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

A true modern classic enabled by the advances in movie technology... And there's not a bang kerpow in sight! Here the special effects are all to do with the use of color in a black and white movie. And it is all stunningly executed.

This movie is a satire on society's fear of change. A black and white (in the black and white television sense not the racial one) society starts to gradually turn colored (colorized) and the population don't like it and turn on the new 'coloreds'. A brilliantly ironic idea, superbly executed. For those who remember black and white TV's transition to color, this movie will remind you of that momentous change in televisual entertainment. It was a true revolution at the time...

For that is the point of this movie. A society scared of change changes before our very eyes. There are many many wonderful jokes in this modern day classic. Utterly stunning effort in what is a pretty perfect fantasy movie.

Other comments

A truly fantastic, virtually perfectly executed, movie. Up there with It's a Wonderful Life, Citizen Kane, an all time great movie. Don't miss it.

Date of review

26 September 2004

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