This delightful comic fable begins in full colour in 1998, when an introverted, TV-watching teen, David (Tobey Maguire), and his sister Jennifer (Reece Witherspoon) are magically transported into reruns of a 1950s black-and-white sitcom called Pleasantville.
Everything seems picture perfect in this cookie-cutter small town, where family values rule, nothing ruffles the primped surface, and the firemen are mainly employed scaling trees to rescue little kittens.
Like time-travelling classic Back to the Future (1985), director Gary Ross’s film plays on nostalgia for the good old days of the 1950s but cleverly subverts this backward-looking impulse by showing how this world of conservatism and small-mindedness is transformed by its visitors from the future.
As David and Jennifer’s modernising influence is felt in the community, Pleasantville gradually introduces splashes of colour into its monochrome palette, a wonderfully cinematic ploy to prove that – where some things are concerned – time is never best standing still.
David, ‘Bud Parker’
Jennifer Wagner, ‘Mary Sue Parker’
William H. Macy
TV repair man
Charles C. Stevenson Jr
Police Chief Dan