MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Pleasantville has never had rain. There has never been a flat tire, a red rose or a passionate kiss. In this fictional black and white town of a 1950's television show, no one has experienced hatred or pain. But when siblings David and Jennifer (Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) mysteriously find themselves transported into this alternate reality, things begin to drastically change around Pleasantville. The two young people introduce Pleasantville to the concepts of literature, art, feminism and sex. As these new concepts emerge ,a mysterious phenomenon occurs. Color slowly begins to infiltrate the black and white world of Pleasantville. This colorful phenomenon sparks a controversial town meeting that results in the banning of all colors. The implication is that the town opposes change of any kind. At the same time, the mixing of color into a black and white environment makes PLEASANTVILLE a truly unique visual experience. Its journey into television's past will delight older audiences, and its artistic film techniques and subtle comedy will captivate many.

But this unique comedy-drama is a very subtle attack on conservatism and traditional values. It cleverly portrays any kind of change to Pleasantville as progress. And while the development of art and literature is admirable, promiscuous premarital sex is not. By combining art and literature with sex as a progressive change in a fictional world, this film is able to depict a negative and comical view of the conservative desperately clinging to his traditional values. The film also combines positive ideas of freedom and free thought with the unbiblical concept of relativism. It subtly suggests that truth and moral values are not absolute, but depend strictly on the people holding them. Sex is the initial factor that begins the transformation of Pleasantville. A few sex scenes condoning premarital sex are comically implied in the backseat of several cars. And the implication that Jennifer's mother discovers sexual self-gratification, after Jennifer modestly discusses sex with her, is quite disturbing. Several illustrations of full frontal female nudity are publicly displayed in paintings on building walls and windows. And the first act of violence in Pleasantville, a boy striking another, produces the first sight of red blood. Also included in the dialog are 2 s-words, one f-word and 7 profanities. These obscenities and profanities, the sexual nature of the story, and several images of painted full frontal female nudity are offensive. Add to these the condoning of premarital sex, the underlying theme of unbiblical relativism and the hidden attack on traditional values, and PLEASANTVILLE becomes highly suspect and objectionable.

Preview Reviewer: Rik Wyrick
New Line Cinema, 888 7th Ave., 20th floor, New York, NY 1010

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Mild 5, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Few (4) times - f-word 1, s-word 2, other 1

Profanity: Many (20) times - Regular 7 (G 3, JC 1, GD 2, Jeez 1); Exclamatory 13 (Oh God, Oh my God)

Violence: Few times Moderate (boy hits another, kick to groin, crowd destroys restaurant

Sex: Implied few times - (couples in backseat of car, scene of woman in bathtub implies self-gratification)

Nudity: Several times (full frontal female nudity displayed in paintings only); Implied nudity once (woman in bathtub)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - mother/daughter chat about sex and self-gratification, single girl readily welcomes sexual intercourse

Drugs: Few times (smoking)

Other: Scene alludes to a misleading comparison of Pleasantville with the Garden of Eden, concept of unbiblical relativism, attack on traditional values

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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