Friday, April 5, 2013

"Pleasantville" by Gary Ross

Pleasantville

Until now everything around here has been, well, pleasant... except when it is acid, it is very unpleasant indeed. And slowly the colours seep through.

Linda Lin

Pleasantville (124 min)

Directed by Gary Ross; starring Reese Witherspoon, Tobey Maguire, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, capital of Minnesota Walker

IF there were any doubts that the febrile satire of the 1950s American social culture would be diluted when brought to the screen, let them be dispelled now. Enter the setting of the most intolerant decade of the twentieth century, where attempts at social perfection were trademarks of the domestic scene. Welcome to a world where Father knows best, where Mother cooks dinner, and where Sister and Brothers small missteps atomic number 18 treated with stern-but-kind lectures, accurately endorsing the essence of the 50s-60s in shows such as Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. And though a dismay for the cynical critics who expected it catchier, it is all summed up by the title, just now quite pleasant.

Opening up in the comfortable familiarity of the 90s, twins David (Tobey Maguire), a bashful antisocial teenager and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon), the promiscuous popular imitation are children the 90s generation, immersed in the lifestyle of cable TV, rock and stadium and sex. David is a TV soap addict, Pleasantville his favourite program.

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His encyclopedic intimacy of this 50s television sitcom however marks the arrival of a strange TV repairman (Don Knotts) who, impressed by Davids Pleasantville expertise, transports the teens to the dim and white Pleasantville program itself where they play the progeny Bud and bloody shame Sue of the perfect nuclear family, with the perfect parents George (William H Macy) and Betty (Joan Allen).

At startle all seems perfect in a cheesy 1950s modal value with its white picket fences, sanitized language where gee-whiz and swell are a...

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