Gary Ross, 1998
I already did a pretty full writeup of this one a while
back. This time I watched it with a more analytical eye. My analysis went
something like this: "Very efficient way to convey information... good sequence
there... wow, that line was crucial and the reading was perfect... ha, that was
funny even the third time around... perfect line reading... beautiful
scene... these actors are remarkable... beautiful scene... I love that
shot... funny... beautiful... oh, that line, that line always gets me... oh,
and when— and when she— why are there tears coming out of my eyes?
That is not very analytical!"
The only thing I really have to add to my earlier post is that I think the
reason I find the movie so beautiful and the reason I find it so well acted
are related. What's so beautiful about the appearance of color in a black
and white world? It's not the actual color mixture; if I take a photo and
desaturate parts of it in Photoshop, I'm making it uglier. I think the trick
is the creation of a false ceiling. There is only so much beauty possible in
a black-and-white world. The movie lulls us into accepting those parameters.
We start to think of a really well-composed grayscale shot as a ten. Then
the movie drops in a red rose. Bam. Fourteen.
Similarly, the characters in Pleasantville are all amusingly stiff at first,
as befits a 1958 sitcom. Any emotion at all — a faux-stern "come get
your breakfast" — is a ten, because it just doesn't get any less bland.
Until suddenly the walls come down for a moment and a character stands there,
completely vulnerable, and quietly says, "I really liked it, though,"
and it's so heartfelt that it's off the previously established charts.
Anyway, while I should probably watch Red
again just to be on the safe side, for now I'm going to say that this is my
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