Rainy-Day Movies, Part 5 – Pleasantville

Pleasantville thumbnail

In 1998, director Gary Ross gave us the unique film Pleasantville, a mind-blowing cinematic fable about the transformative nature of art. Like the rest of our films this week, Pleasantville featured rain as an important element.
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Time Warner Inc.

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Pleasantville banner Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Time Warner Inc.


For my money, Gary Ross doesn’t get all the credit he deserves. In his first screenplay, Big, Ross tackled the fish-out-of-water story by placing child Tom Hanks in his grown-up body. In Dave, Ross tackled the theme again, and Kevin Kline left his life in entertainment to become the President of the United States. Two great films from one great screenwriter. And then this screenwriter turns director with the hidden gem, Pleasantville. Wow.

In Pleasantville, fish-out-of-water David (played by Tobey Maguire, who also got wet in yesterday’s film, Spider-Man) and his sister Jennifer are moved from their contemporary problem-ridden existence and moved to an idyllic 1950’s sitcom. In bringing the knowledge and morés of contemporary society with them, they transform the entire town from black-and-white to color. Rain, of course, features heavily in the transition. Whether you read the metaphor as the residents being washed clean of their earlier misconceptions, or as the storm of artistic passion raining down on the town, rain is both an effect and a catalyst in this contemporary fable. Watch Pleasantville’s first rainstorm by clicking on the picture below.


Pleasantville trailer link Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Time Warner Inc.


Note: This film features a quirky and nostalgic performance by actor Don Knotts, a fellow alumnus of the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts theater program.




If your video library is collected on discs, you’ll want to order “Pleasantville” on Multi-Format Blu-ray from Amazon.com, with tons of special features:

  • Commentary by Writer/Director Gary Ross;
  • Isolated Score Track with Commentary by Composer Randy Newman;
  • Featurette “The Art of Pleasantville”;
  • Fiona Apple “Across the Universe” Music Video Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson; and,
  • Theatrical Trailer

Available now on Amazon.com. – Candy

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 Amazon video Pleasantville


If your video library is collected in digital form on a hard drive, you’ll want to buy the digital download of “Pleasantville” from Amazon Video. Or, if you prefer, you can watch it before you buy (terms apply). Sorry, this title is not included in Amazon Prime. – Candy

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