Parents' Guide to

Pleasantville

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Thought-provoking look at past and present teen life.

Movie PG-13 1998 124 minutes
Pleasantville Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 18+

Not a family movie/ should be R rated.

It started off interesting. But it ruined if for me n my family. Because of the sexually explicit parts where: daughter teaching mom to go for masturbation?! And daughter shown lowering her heas to give a blow job to her school guy who likes her in his car. And swearing, drug use, smoking...so it is not a good movie to watch with your family it should be for 17 or 18 plus. I have godly standards so i was shocked to see that in a supposedly a family movie. But now 2019 ratings have changed a PG-13 ratings are allowed to use one F word but if more than that they said it makes it a rated R movie. Each parents need to decide whats best suits or for them. I hope it helped. Ps: it would have a neat a good movie without all that stuff was really unnecassary. Like over seasoning a dish spoiles the food that woukd have been enjoyable.
age 13+

Good movie, except lots of innnapropriate scenes.

Pleasantville is a black and white sitcom which Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon get sucked into and have all sorts of well, strange adventures as they modernise the place for the good and bad. The teens and adults there learn about sex from them and frequent references to it throughout after a steamy scene ( nothing graphic shown). Later in the movie Reese teaches her mum how to masturbate, and she does in a bathtub, so watch out for this scene. Near the end of the movie, f--k is said but not in a sexual way. Also occasional mild swearing throughout the movie. A teenager also smokes and this could be a negative influence.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (16 ):

Parents and teens alike will find many things to think and talk about after watching this engaging movie. Pleasantville draws parallels to Nazi Germany (book burning) and American Jim Crow laws ("No colored" signs), and the challenges of independent thinking. High schoolers may appreciate the way that the twins, at first retreating in different ways from the problems of the modern world, find that the rewards of the examined life make it ultimately worthwhile.

Also intriguing is the path of Jennifer's character. At first, she thinks that it is sex that turns the black and white characters into color. But when she stays "pasty," she realizes that the colors reveal something more subtle and meaningful -- the willingness to challenge the accepted and opening oneself up to honest reflection about one's own feelings and longings.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 23, 1998
  • On DVD or streaming: June 1, 2004
  • Cast: Reese Witherspoon , Tobey Maguire , William H. Macy
  • Director: Gary Ross
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 124 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: some thematic elements emphasizing sexuality, and for language
  • Last updated: October 18, 2023

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