Type: Review
Pages: 4 | Words: 1077
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Free Sample of a Movie Review Essay

In the movie Pleasantville, written, produced, and directed by Ross Gary, the history of America in the 1950s is portrayed as the period when life and people were honest and each person knew his status in the society. Most people in society are portrayed as ignorant, conservative, and racists. Color is used to portray the main theme of the movie. The thesis of this essay is to elaborate hoe Pleasantville portrays the conversion, clean/unclean theme.

In this case, there is no exposure and all the information known by the people is basic knowledge. After a period of time, this kind of perception changes due to the presence of a catalyst inform of Mary-Sue and David who interact with the people of Pleasantville through different activities such as music, camera, color use and film making erasing their original values and bringing in different values away from what was.

Racism in the Film Pleasantville

There are scenes are portrayed in Pleasantville as being in black and white which is symbolic of simplicity since there were no shades of either grey or other colors. There are several early appearances of color in the movie that include the red rose at Lover’s Lane, the pink bubblegum in the hallway; the girl’s pink tongue; the red hearts of the cards, the subtle green of the car, the pink cherry blossoms, and the subtle green of the grass at Lover’s Lane before it turns entirely colorized.

When color was introduced within the film, it signified the change where the simplicity of the Pleasantville had been broken. Things were being made more complicated and clearer through the visual effects brought about by color. This became the first sign of change in the movie with the color red symbolizing romance. This was seen on the first date that Mary-Sue goes with Skip where later Skip sees a red rose flower. This was used to symbolize the passions, love, and lust that were believed not to exist in the 1950s in the history of America even though they did but were not accepted.

Another scene begins with David putting on black and white make-up on his mother. It shows that he is conservative by going back to the older days when only black and white colors were used as makeup to maintain the innocence of Pleasantville. To be realistic he was only trying to associate himself with the conservative people and seem innocent. Since innocence was associated with stupidity, his actions are considered not realistic, unintelligent, and smart.

Another clear example that portrays the scenes of black and white was the one where Bud brings Mr. Johnson an art book. Mr. Johnson sees a painting of Adam and Eve sent away from the Garden of Eden. He comments on where he will be able to see such colors since they are not lucky to do so. This means that everyone is lucky to have different colors that were seen as the experience of sin associated with color except for a few cases. In relation to the scene, Mr. Johnson has not experienced different colors. He is still conservative only knowing color black and white.

Mr. Johnson and Betty

In the discussion Betty has with Mr. Johnson, he explains a Picasso as a woman who is resting while Betty contradicts him and says the woman is crying. Even though they have different views, we find that they are both right according to modern art Philosophy. From Picasso, the only one to give meaning to it is a human being depending on the meaning and explanation. This shows that through the assumption the world as unintelligible by itself and it has no meaning. It further explains that man projects meaning into the world. This brings us to the message of the movie that indicates that there is nothing as simple as black and white.

Mr. Johnson and Betty later acquire color in the form of an adulterous relationship that we are not entirely sure. This is seen from where she poses naked after she leaves her husband to hustle for himself. Mary Sue acquires the color she has been searching for even though her mission. This was not to have sex but to show others how to do it through the discovery of the world of literature. At the end of the movie, she does remark that her previous characters are long gone. This is not the case since she hooks up with David and does not attend University.

This clearly implies that higher education in the 1950s is of lower standards. She has no regret for her misuse and abuse of Skip but blames it on her behavior simply getting old. Bud and Mary Sue disrupt the Pleasantville universe with the two extremely rebellious acts that included sex and reading. These made all the children want to have sex and fill all the blank books in the library making everyone change slowly from black and white to color.

The more colorized the Pleasantville universe become, the more people living in Pleasantville deviated from what was considered normal. This made the older and conservative people want to have things back to normal. From the look of things, it is evident that things will never be the same again.

The black and white color scene plays a significant role in the overall story since it explains the older days and the later days. From the difference in reasoning and acts of the people, it clearly indicates that change is inevitable no matter how different we perceive issues. When the conservative individuals interact with those who are exposed there is a possibility of change. This means through exposure and interaction the old settings are forgotten and new ideas embraced to help clear doubts and uncertainties.

Even though the new ideas are embraced there are various negative effects of the changes which everyone should be ready for. This turning point leaves people in the movie embrace new ideas and technology to improve their living conditions and relations to others while focusing on how to deal with the negatives.


In conclusion, it is a lesson learned that change is inevitable but it comes with challenges that should be accepted as much as the changes. The color and black & white aspects of the movie portray this aspect gravely. The theme of conversion is supported by this change and hence the thesis is in turn supported.

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