Monday, June 1, 2015

Must See Movie Monday - Pleasantville

Film: Pleasantville
Released: 1998
Rated: PG-13
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Toby Maguire, Reese Witherspoon
Short Summary: When siblings, David and Jennifer, are sucked out of their real life and into the 1950's show, Pleasantville, their 1990's influence starts to profoundly change that complacent world. 

Why It's A Must See Movie

Pleasantville is visually appealing and unique in storytelling. It is a film that is thought provoking. However, it is thought provoking on a subconscious level. First of all the movie is great at showing contrast. Not just between the black and white and color elements of the visuals, but in the difference between "the real world" and the world of the Pleasantville show. The modern world that David and Jennifer live in is full of violence, disease and broken family. Where as Pleasantville is clean, predictable, and all about the nuclear family. The film makes you see why David loves the show as an escape from his real life.

Of course once David and Jennifer become part of the Pleasantville world everyone is involved in the story is forced to ask a profound question. Is it better to remain the same utterly predictable life or change and find new experiences through self discovery? I love how the film shows that self discovery can quite literally make someone a much more vibrant and colorful person. It also shows that change can be a messy thing. Many people will resist change. This brings in another element I find wonderful about this movie. It shares many common themes that are contained in Dystopian stories. In fact let's just face it Pleasantville is a Dystopian story, but instead being set in the future it is set in a 1950's TV show. Which is what makes the film unique and the world building of the movie awesome. It also makes the viewer and the characters ask even more thought provoking questions. Ideas about the differences between each of us a individuals is another element that is strongly explored in the movie.

With all the thoughtful questions the movie might make you ask about life you might be wondering why the movie is still any fun. Well their are several elements of comedy to the film that just make you smile. Other than that it contains some rocking visuals. Which kind of brings us back to the contrast element I was talking about again. The scenes containing both black and white and color elements are fabulous. If you get as chance to watch the DVD extras on how they made all that work please do. It was a very technical and interesting process. That is not the only element that makes the visuals great. I love the composition of the camera shots. I like the pacing of the film in terms of editing. Add on to everything else that the musical score is perfectly fitting for the tranformative feeling of the film. Awesomeness!

This is definitely a film that everyone should check out. There are just so many cool elements to it. That is why I love it.

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