The '90s Movie You Forgot Is On Netflix & Deserves Another Look
The Netflix algorithm can be really helpful in suggesting movies that you're likely to love or maybe love already. But sometimes in its efforts to show you what it thinks you want, gems can get hidden. And who has time to peruse every monthly list of the movies coming to the streaming service? I'm here to make sure that you know about one '90s film in particular that was added to Netflix just this May. Maybe it's been years since you've watched this innovative dramedy or maybe you somehow missed it entirely. The 1998 film Pleasantville is now on Netflix. I highly suggest you take advantage of that convenience and pull it up the next time you're looking for cinematic distraction.
Written and directed by Gary Ross who also did double duty on Seabiscuit, the first Hunger Games film, and the new Matthew McConaughey release Free State Of Jones, Pleasantville is about a modern-day brother and sister who become trapped in the universe of a fictional '50s family sitcom. David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) have to pose as the son and daughter of their favorite spotless TV family, but their presence causes inadvertent chaos and prompts both of them to stop and consider how their actions affect the world around them. Race, sex, and feminism are all a part of the fabric of this entertaining and thoughtful fantasy. Here are some other reasons why you should watch Pleasantville again or for the first time right now.
It's A Clever Allegory Of Repression & Acceptance
When David and Jennifer are plopped into Pleasantville, they're as de-saturated as the rest of their surroundings. But they and the characters of the show begin to come to life through emotional experiences both good and bad. Those experiences and feelings turn the townspeople magically into full technicolor. The powers that can be don't like the destruction of their proper status quo and seek to segregate the "colored" population from the black and white. Freedom and passion come with a price, but it's a price most of the newly enlightened citizens are willing to pay
Joan Allen Is Heartbreaking
If you're ever wanted to reach your hand into the TV and save a fictional housewife from the monotony of her life, this is the movie for you. I won't spoil her arc, but know that it's Joan Allen's character Betty Parker who is the beating heart of the film.
The Visuals Are Gorgeous
A orange fire, a baby pink bubble begging to be popped, and a red plaid umbrella wielded by a girl in a yellow dress. All of these hues pop against a black and white back-drop as Pleasantville begins to be colorized. According to American Cinematographer, the filmmakers shot Pleasantville entirely in color and then painstakingly scrubbed that color frame by digital frame. The dedication and care is apparent in the final product.
Paul Walker Plays A Golden Boy
Paul Walker, who passed away in a car accident in 2013, played a lot of teenage hotshots in the '90s including high school football star Lance Harbor in Varsity Blues and social despot Dean in She's All That. But never was he more sincere and unassuming than as Skip Martin, the "yes, m'am" boy who sexually liberated Jennifer sets her sights on as soon as she gets comfortable in Pleasantville.
Human performances and incredible filmmaking make Pleasantville a '90s movie worthy of a long life on Netflix.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy (4)