The 1998 film Pleasantville, directed by Gary Ross and starring Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, is a story which comments on social change, passion and prejudice. It begins when a super-charged TV remote control zaps twins David and Jennifer from the reality of their normal 90s life into the set and family of the hyper-perfect ‘Pleasantville’, a black and white 1950s TV show where everyone and everything is, well, ‘pleasant’.
David is a big fan of the show and has no problem adjusting as he know all about where he is and who all the characters around him are. His sister however is furious to be missing out on her life back in the ‘real world’ and hates being confined to 50s fashion, habits and values. She refuses to give up her 90s outlook on life and soon begins to wreak havoc as she introduces a whole new set of ideas to the people of Pleasantville, and dares to ask the questions that everyone else had left well alone.
The remarkable power of this film lies in its cinematography as the black and white world of Pleasantville soon becomes ‘contaminated’ and things start to change into colour before our very eyes. After Jennifer seduces the otherwise wholesome and clean-cut basketball captain Skip, he drives home to find a red rose blooming on an otherwise black and white bush. This startling imagery really highlights the main theme of the film: change.
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