Pleasantville (1998)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Americana, Fantasy Comedy  |   Release Date - Oct 23, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 124 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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The directorial debut of notable screenwriter Gary Ross, this whimsical take on television, modernism, and traditional values often tells its tale with a heavy hand (especially in vignettes involving racism and infidelity), but its strikingly-realized mise en scene compensates for the script's meandering. Armed with some of the late-90s' most outstanding acting talent, Pleasantville resonates with noble intentions: one cannot fault the film for lack of ambition, even if it's never as satisfying as it should be dramatically. Ross utilizes truly innovative special effects, combining vibrant color with rich black-and-white, often in the same scene, mirroring the personalities of the characters and their feelings. The second of two high-profile films in 1998 (the other being The Truman Show to address television's relation to society, especially pertaining to spectatorship, Pleasantville also marked the final big-screen appearance of beloved character actor J.T. Walsh, who shines as an old-school values family man.