Free Social Psychology in the Movie Pleasantville Essay Sample
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The movie “Pleasantville” is a touching story directed by Gary Ross. It has not only interesting, but very educative plot based on the psychology of the person. Due to this, the film was nominated for Oscar in three categories, and received other 15 awards and 23 nominations at various film festivals. The film is easy viewed due to the problems that are similar to every person (McDaniel 1998). Thus, watching the movie, many people can recognize themselves in the main heroes.
The movie begins with a story about the life of a classical botanist David and his sister Jennifer. David is a vicious teenager, who basically cannot find common ground with the outside world, finding an outlet only in the old series, which he can watch endlessly and knows many of them by heart. Jennifer is an ambitious blonde aspiring to gain popularity at school and plans to ensnare the coolest guy. The plot begins with the fact that in one day two events are taking place: the marathon on “Pleasantville” runs on TV, in which participants are invited to answer questions about the film, and the winner gets a huge prize; the concert on MTV is going to be and Jennifer invited her boyfriend to watch it together. Thus, the conflict between David and Jennifer occurs. This night made a bizarre twist in the life of David and his sister: queer technician hands David unusual remote control that sends it, along with his sister, right in Pleasantville. The newcomers’ visit to the city failed completely, miraculously changing lives of its inhabitants.
Everything in this city is absolutely perfect: every detail of life is totally planned out; there is nothing that can upset. Firefighters only save cats from trees; all the books have the blank pages, basketball players always get in the ring. All people in the town are elegant, cheerful and spotless and life is surprisingly pleasant. In general is it a utopian world that attracts David because of its perfectness.
In the movie it can be highly seen the line of forming the person’;s identity. Thus, there is a comparison of two worlds: the real one and the imaginative perfect one. The problem is that neither in the real world nor in the perfect one, people can find their real identity. David is the teenager who doesn’t care about anything at all. His life is twisted among the series of the movie. He is not interested in other things. He is always dreaming to be a citizen of such a btown as Pleasantville, where everything is perfect (Beuka). However, when he turns to be a part of it, this perfectness is becoming annoying. The feelings about the town are not like those that he felt being in front of the TV-set.
People in the town live in black and white world, where everything always goes according to the plan. They believe that it is right and do not want to change anything. Paints are prohibited in their world and are considered to be something indecent and vicious. The appearance of David and his sister Jennifer has turned the entire lives of the residents of a small town. They brought the colors and their true feelings in black and white world. Everybody began to realize how wonderful it is to live in a color world, because life is not black and white. After moving to this “cozy” green city, the main characters begin to understand that the life here is very monotonous. In Pleasantville there is no real love, no fine art. People here do not live for pleasure and not pay much attention to what their life is in reality. Every day they do the same things at the same time (Fisher 1998).
The movie rises up many sociological themes. First of all, the people’s desire to be like everybody else, losing their identity through the influence of the crowd. Thus, the citizens of Pleasantville were trying to be the same: everybody in black and white colors. However, those who tried to be different, did what he or she wants in reality, and to go off the frames of the town, turns to be colored. Under the slogan “Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll” the city started to transform rapidly from black and white color to the backwater paradise. Bloomed daisies, red lips, blue sky, and those who had come to know the forbidden fruit, have themselves become “colored”. The authorities and the solid face of the city were not happy that young people and other “morally unsustainable” elements blossomed a riot of colors.
Firstly, those people who turned to be colored were ashamed of their new state, however, soon the entire town turned to be colored and from the personality of each citizen. People in the town used to live accordingly to the general scheme – like everybody else. The following tendency is known even from the history. Any step, which would be not common to the society or those that bring self-satisfaction, was estimated to be awkward in the town.
Secondly, Pleasantville had also changed the lives of David and Jennifer. David, having plunged into the world of his dreams, wanted to go back home. Jennifer on the contrary was tired of the old life and wanted to stay in Pleasantville. The relationship between the brother and sister has been establishing throughout the whole film. Nevertheless, not all the citizens in Pleasantville switched to be colored because they went off the frames, started to enjoy the life and did some forbidden things, David and Jennifer switched from being black and white for the other reasons. For example, Jennifer turned to be no longer black and white because of a sudden outburst passion for reading. The girl forgot about all her boyfriends and devotes herself to the reading process which immediately made her colored. Thus, Jennifer found the middle position between that life that she had at home and this perfect one, that all people in Pleasantville have.
David is also changing due to the influence of the town. From the geek who spends all his free time in front of TV set, he becomes the person who is interested in life and the events that are going on around. What is more, David has evaluated himself and his way of life after being the part of Pleasantville city. When in the beginning of the movie he was amazed by the idea of the perfect town, and the reality was seemed to be boring for him, after spending time in the town, he wanted to return to reality. The things were different with Jennifer, who loved the way of the life she had in reality, but after spending some time in Pleasantville, decided not to return.
To conclude, the main idea of the film is that if the person is willing to change the world, he or she should start with changes of him/herself. Thus, these changes should be done through the deep evaluation of the person’s being and his position in the life. The movie teaches, that the society can’t be perfect. The person would be happy only in that case when the middle position is found. The example is David, he has evaluated the reality finding the positive moments only when he reached that life he was always dreaming about. The perfect life is only perfect when you are watching it aside; however, it is different when you are the part of it. The same with Jennifer, in order to find herself, she has to become a part of absolutely different life, only this makes her evaluate her life. The people from the town also have found themselves through the things that were absolutely different to their normal life. It was hard for them to make the first step but as the result, each person in the town became the personality and stands out from the crowd.
To make the long story short, the movie is an example of the process of the developing of the personality and the society in general. The main statement, that was underlined throughout the whole movie, is that people can’t be perfect and can’t live in the perfect conditions. However, in order to evaluate the current situation in the life properly, one should experience the situation that is absolutely different. Only this can help to reveal the real person.
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