Pleasantville Review

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Pleasantville Review

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Pleasantville Review


The movie Pleasantville is based on the tale of two worlds, completely different from one another (their differences are depicted with a difference in their color schemes), two different people who are twins and different social orders. The characters Jennifer and David belong to the same world. In it, David is a teenager going to school and is being taught that the world is a dog eat dog place where opportunity to live happily, is decreasing daily and disasters and plagues are a norm. (Turan, 1998, p. 1). David is a socially inept 'nerd' whose purpose of existence in life is to follow a TV show, Pleasantville featuring a utopian lifestyle of both community and family. David fantasizes about talking to a 'popular' girl in school and aims to win the trivia contest of Pleasantville behind his mother's back.

On the other hand his sister is the exact opposite of David. Jennifer is everything he is not, popular, sexually active and cool. Partying, smoking and drinking are her way of life. She revels in her popularity. She is seen to be conversing with a 'cool' guy in school with one word sentences then embellishing them later. Finally she gets a TV date with him at the same day David has the trivia quiz, because her mother would be gone at that day.

Both the siblings have TV related activities planned for the day their mother goes. The day arrives showing two completely different preparations being made by the siblings. Eventually they both congregate on the TV set and as expected there is a sibling quarrel. The remote gets broken in the chaos rendering the TV useless. By a freak coincidence a repairman comes to the door right at that moment and hands the siblings a new remote which sends them in the show.

“…..places Jennifer and David literally inside the black-and-white world of Pleasantville. …. (Turan, 1998, p. 2).

This is where the movie begins with David entering his dream world and Jennifer her nightmare. Pleasantville is black and white with none of the evils of their world. The people are polite and act according to scripted routines. The siblings try to get back but are informed by the repairman that they need to follow the script to return. Ergo David becomes Bud and Jennifer Mary Sue. Their personal actions end up changing the workings of the 'perfect' world, which makes them guilty, invoking attempts to remove the 'guilt'.

Thesis Statement

The film uses a variety of motives of people to entertain the audience like mystery, hierarchy, mortification, guilt, division, purification, redemption and scapegoating. The paper shall analyze how these messages are depicted. It is emotions which are the 'colors' of society. The film depict the fact on a literal basis.



Story is told in a simplistic manner featuring Tobey Maguire (David) and Reese Witherspoon (Jennifer). Toby takes refuge from his world in Pleasantville while Jennifer is a 'self-proclaimed slut'. They are transported to the TV show through a magic ...