directed by Gary Ross
What begins as a cutesy yawnfest grows into a stunningly powerful film about equality, humanity and the power of finding your own voice. Too bad it ends the way it starts, but what happens in between is the stuff of classics. Gary Ross, the talent who penned Big, uses the sterilized Americana of 50s television as a metaphor for the civil inequality that still permeates this country. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon play siblings who get zapped into the Leave it to Beaver-esque town of Pleasantville, where everything is pleasant, and boring. And black and white. When the pair start adding a little modern flair to town (by flair, I mean sex. And books. Sexy, sexy books), they start a domino effect that topples the town’s prudish nature and opens their eyes to something more. Jeff Daniels is remarkable as the Pleasantville’s diner proprietor, and Joan Allen is tremendous as Betty, naïve mother and yearning wife of a stellar William H. Macy. Pleasantville is a bit too clever for its own good at times, but it captures a feeling at its high points that leave you hopeful for what tomorrow may bring.