Pleasantville is a movie set in 1990 whereby the major casts who are a brother and a sister are haggling and fighting over a remote. Both of them want to watch a different channel and the outcome of their fight is that the remote breaks. All of a sudden a queer looking maintenance guy shows up and gives them a new remote. On use of the remote the two are transported into Pleasantville which is the brother’s favorite sitcom from the 1950s. The movie shows how the two strive to adapt to their new world and their attempts to return to their modern world. In this movie many social issues are addressed. This includes racism, gender roles, morality and societal norms. The movies seem to bring to light an underlying philosophy that things are not programmed to work in a certain way and not in another way (Calhoun 2007).
As indicated earlier, Pleasantville brings to light issues concerning the American culture which includes the social obstacles in the society today. Pleasantville incorporates the use of colors to portray racism in a satirical and unique manner. The American society is depicted as reserved and unwilling to embrace change in the movie. The fear of racial integration is clearly perceived in the American society. With time people attain more satisfaction in their lives in many different ways like through discovering their sexuality. This leads to a shift in color from black and white to distinctive bright colors. This leads to segregation of the colored people by the black and white people on the basis that the colored ones were corrupt (Calhoun 2007).
Prejudice among the Americans is an outcome of not only the racial differences but the failure to tolerate each other’s differences as evidenced in Pleasantville. The degree of discriminations the Americans are capable of showing to each other due to differences in color is seen. This is depicted where the black and white citizens who term themselves as the true citizens of Pleasantville despise the multicolored citizens. The idea of color changes was symbolic illustrating that those who had changed had got a self revelation of themselves by comprehending their personality and ultimately overcoming the social norms. However, this color change was met with hostility by the “true citizens” of Pleasantville. A law numbered 7 is billed by the mayor under the town’s code of conduct that legalized only three colors namely; black, white and grey. The colored citizens were despised and treated like aliens in the town (Calhoun 2007).
In summary the movie Pleasantville is based on change and the fact that the society will always change. Even though some people may resist change at first but it will sure happen. For instance the racial divide between the colored and the black and white was as a result of change. Even though the black and white were intolerant at first they had to face it and bear with it. Changes can be either positive or negative and even though it is slightly exaggerated in the movie it reflects what is happening in the society. Change is a reality and there is no way of stopping it.
Calhoun, John. (2007). “Black and White in Color: ‘Pleasantville’ Recreates 50s TV” Roseville, MI: Michigan Electronic Lab.