The protagonists are hurled from a world of possibility and awareness into one of comfort and ignorance. They arrive in a monochrome land where people live in an ongoing uniform loop. Where there is a system and everyone follows it.
As soon as the characters of Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon arrive in Pleasantville, they throw the entire universe of Pleasantville into warp.
Pleasantville is a TV show that David (Maguire) watches religiously and Jennifer (Witherspoon), his sister, is not. David knows the events that are about to unfold and tries his best to make sure that they do. Jennifer, however, is more rebellious and does what makes her happy. She follows her heart and does what she does because she wants to and not because people expect her to do it.
In doing so, she opens the eyes of the people around her to new possibilities or as James Berardinelli states,"The stale utopia of family values begins evolving." Berardinell, James. (1998).
The authorities of Pleasantville are obviously not impressed as they are afraid of the town falling into a state of anarchy. They ban the sale of colours and shun the people who are in technicolour. This reflects the apartheid and the ways of the Roman Catholic Church. As reviewer Almar Haflidason puts it, "Sadly, not all are positive to change, and their fear spills into racist segregationist behaviour." Haflidason, Almar.(2001).
This is a film where one learns that there are always second chances and that people can change. There is hope and that people are people no matter how they look. All humans have desires and yearn for pleasure and that a life full of colour and improvisation is better than living in a dull repetitive state of monochrome.
(Author Unknown).(1999). Total Film Review. Pleasantville Review. Available online at: http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/pleasantville Accessed on 9th October 2012
Haflidason, Almar.(2001). BBC Film Review. Pleasantville(1998). Available online at:http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/12/14/pleasantville_1998_review.shtml Accessed on 9th October 2012
Berardinell, James. (1998). Reelviews.net. Review: Pleasantville. Available online at: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/p/pleasantville.html Accessed on 9th October 2012
Fig 1. Ross, Gary. (1998). Pleasantville. Available online at: http://lang-8.com/34193/journals/874101/Pleasantville Accessed on 9th October 2012
Fig 2. Ross, Gary. (1998). Pleasantville. Available online at: http://www.jhu.edu/anthmedia/Projects/pleasantville/WManningAnthro/Conclusions.html Accessed on 9th October 2012
Fig 3. Ross, Gary. (1998). Pleasantville. Available online at:http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=6523 Accessed on 9th October 2012