Subscribe to Tobey Maguire alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd October 1998

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Production compaines: New Line Cinema, Larger Than Life Productions

Reviews 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 79 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew


Starring: Tobey Maguire as David, Reese Witherspoon as Jennifer, William H. Macy as George Parker, Joan Allen as Betty Parker, Jeff Daniels as Bill Johnson, Marley Shelton as Margaret Henderson, Jane Kaczmarek as David's Mother, J. T. Walsh as Big Bob, Don Knotts as TV Repairman, Giuseppe Andrews as Howard, Marissa Ribisi as Kimmy, Paul Walker as Skip Martin

Pleasantville Movie Review

Not only does Pleasantville have more CGI effects than Titanic, it has more plot, better characters, and a more satisfying ending, too. Will it create the same kind of waves that the big boat did a year ago? Hardly, but discerning viewers not overcome by hype (see also The Truman Show) will probably agree with me that Pleasantvilleis truly one of the best films of the year.

Whereas Truman brought TV to a man's life, Pleasantvillebrings two teenagers to a TV show. Hasn't this been done? Well, yes, in a real stinker called Stay Tuned (1992, with John Ritter and Pam Dawber), but hopefully the dismal idiocy of that film won't color (so to speak) your judgement on this one. The plot really can't be condensed into a "TV Guide"-style logline, which means it requires a little thought to get into, but that really only enhances the moviegoing experience.

If you've seen the commercials, you know that Maguire and Witherspoon are two modern-day teens that are magically (don't ask) transported into a 1958 black-and-white sitcom called Pleasantville. Only Pleasantville is real, too. The name of the town should connote the Mayberryesque feel of the place ("Gosh, that's swell!"), and Don Knotts even makes an appearance. What you may not realize from the TV ads is that all is not well after Maguire and co. start to shake things up. Not only does Witherspoon introduce the townsfolk to sex, but books begin to have text in them, rain begins to fall, and, most importantly, colors begin to appear.

It's these changes in the town and its residents that drive the heart of the movie, with B&W's revolting against "coloreds", books being burned... altogether it becomes a minor disaster zone. To many--in Pleasantville and in the real world--change is bad. To others, change is something to embrace. To a movie audience, it's something that's definitely worthy of two hours of time and the price of a ticket.

Strong performances abound by the entire cast, particularly Macy and Allen, the husband and wife near ground zero of the events. Also, astounding direction by Ross, not to mention those special effects, keeps your eyes glued to the screen for the duration, all the while avoiding the squishiness of say, Forrest Gump.

Highly recommended.

Maguire with a vivid Marley Shelton.


Subscribe to Tobey Maguire alerts


Pleasantville Rating

" Extraordinary "


More Tobey Maguire

Entourage Trailer

After making a name for themselves in Hollywood, Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends from Queens have finally made a movie. The only problem...

Bastille - Things We Lost In The Fire [Live] Video

Live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta, Bastille perform 'Things We Lost In The Fire', the final single from their debut album...

Bastille - Oblivion [Live] Video

Bastille perform their single 'Oblivion' live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta. The track followed Platinum hit 'Of The Night' and featured...

HAERTS - Interview Video

Brooklyn band Haerts released their self-titled debut album this year, and here they talk about how they first got into music, their lifelong friendship and...


Mark Ronson - Daffodils ft. Kevin Parker [Audio] Video

Mark Ronson will finally unveil his fourth album 'Uptown Special' on January 26th 2015 through his new label deal with Sony Music. He has teamed...

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin [Live] Video

Meghan Trainor performs her latest single 'Lips Are Movin' at one of her favourite places in the world: an aquarium. The song features, alongside smash...

HAERTS - Be The One [Live] Video

Haerts perform an intimate live rendition of their song 'Be The One', taken from their self-titled debut album released in October 2014 through Columbia Records....

ScHoolboy Q - Hell Of A Night Video

ScHoolboy Q released his first number one with third album 'Oxymoron', and he now unveils the video to its latest single 'Hell Of A Night'...