Box art for Pleasantville


comedy, drama

Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon star in this modern day fairy tale where two late 20th Century teenagers accidentally bring living color to a mysterious suburb trapped in a black-and-white '50s utopia.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Thought-provoking look at past and present teen life.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pleasantville contains lots of messages about living life to the fullest, the need for passion, and the courage to accept change. Sexual situations are frequent (including some loud moaning and paintings of nude figures), but a fair share of the references will go over young kids' heads. The term "Jesus Christ" is audible; words like "hell," "bitch," "s--t," and "f--k" are used a few times, too. Intolerant behavior leads to some riotous behavior (and a bloody lip). Teen smoking is briefly visible. All this being said, the main teen characters are strong and become positive role models.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how sex is portrayed in the movie. Is it exploitative or educational? Even though much of the sexual activity is implied, what messages does it send about sexual situations, especially among teenagers?
  • Parents: What are some of the ways you can talk to your kids about some of the issues presented here?
  • Would you prefer to live in the 1950s, or in modern times? Which does the movie seem to prefer?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
    see all Pleasantville reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews


- Luke Buckmaster, In Film Australia, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

"Fire! FIRE! ....Cat?" Cool movie. If you've ever found yourself wondering what it would be like to live inside one of those 50's family TV shows, Pleasantville has your answer. Absolutely absurd. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon play a pair of teenage siblings who end up inside the idyllic show of Pleasantville, in a town where there is no trouble, everything is predictable, innocent (separate beds for married couples) and the overall mood is (you guessed it) nothing short of blandly pleasant. They turn the black and white town upside down with sex and distinctly non-routine, non-Pleasantville ideas about life, and suddenly, color starts to seep into the world. Everyone doesn't like it, and Pleasantville starts to become a lot less pleasant. And the two teens end up go through some changes, themselves, of course. The movie starts off fairly light-hearted, but goes in a much more serious direction as the story moves along. It was a good enough flick to keep me I interested even after the novelty started to wear off, but I do think it was a little longer than it needed to be. Overall, though, I thought it was pretty decent. There's a nice supporting cast of Joan Allen, William H. Macy, and others, and fans of Maguire and Witherspoon will be pleased with their performances. This may not be the best movie I've seen, but it's certainly a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

- lewiskendell, Sunday, October 31, 2010

4 stars

Some Movies are just too nice to only rate instead of reviewing like many people before. Word Said/Wrote which I dont want to repeat.

- ScoopOnline, Monday, January 4, 2010

5 stars

This and Purple Rose of Cairo are both about disrupted routine and comparing the fictional world of 50's TV or 30's movies to real life. I like the effects and all the performances (though Don Knotts is a little hokey). But the theme more than anything is what makes this story so enjoyable for me. The sex, music, color, art, library books, and general spirit of change that stirs up this innocent, gray, small town (I mean small town! Where there is nothing outside of Pleasantville!), bigoted, 50's TV sitcom world of the status quo, is creatively visualized.

- hypathio7, Monday, August 31, 2009