Pleasantville

Synopsis: Impressed by high school student David's (Tobey Maguire) devotion to a 1950s family TV show, a mysterious television repairman (Don Knotts) provides him with a means to escape into the black-and-white program with his sister, Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon). While David initially takes to the simplistic, corny world of the show, Jennifer sets about jolting the characters with doses of reality that unexpectedly bring a little color into their drab existence.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Production: New Line Cinema
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 41 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.5
Metacritic:
71
Rotten Tomatoes:
85%
PG-13
Year:
1998
124 min
Website
1,266 Views


FADE IN:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM. DAY.

A college counselor stands at the Podium lecturing the high

school seniors about their future.

COLLEGE COUNSELOR

... For those of you going on to college

next year, the chance of finding a good

job will actually decrease by the time

you graduate. Entry level jobs will drop

from thirty-one to twenty-six percent,

and the median income for those jobs

will go down as well ...

There is some rustling in the audience.

COLLEGE COUNSELOR (CONT)

Obviously, my friends, it's a

competitive world and good grades are

your only ticket through. By the year

Two Thousand ...

INT. HIGH SCHOOL. HEALTH CLASS.

A different teacher lectures a different class of students.

HEALTH TEACHER:

... The chance of contracting HIV from a

promiscuous lifestyle will climb to one

in one hundred and fifty. The odds of

dying in an auto accident are only one

in twenty-five hundred.

(beat)

Now this marks a drastic increase ...

INT. HIGH SCHOOL. SCIENCE CLASS.

Same angle. Different teacher.

SCIENCE TEACHER:

... From just four years ago when ozone

depletion was at ten percent of its

current level. By the time you are

twenty years old, average global

temperature will have risen two and a

half degrees. Even a shift of one

degree can cause such catastrophic

consequences as typhoons, floods,

widespread drought and famine.

REVERSE ANGLE. STUDENTS.

They stare back in stunned silence. One of them, DAVID

WAGNER, sits in the front row with a pencil in his mouth.

Nobody moves ...

SCIENCE TEACHER:

(chipper classroom tone)

Okay. Who can tell me what famine is?

CUT TO:

1958.

Birds are chirping. The sun is shining. All the hedges are

neatly pruned and the lawns are perfectly manicured. A sweet

stillness hangs over the SUBURBAN STREET, which is bathed in

beautiful BLACK AND WHITE.

MAN'S VOICE (OS)

Honey, I'm home.

SUBURBAN HOME.

GEORGE PARKER enters the front door and hangs his hat on the

coatrack. He sets his briefcase down and moves into the foyer

with a huge smile on his face. It's a frozen smile that

doesn't seem to be affected by too much in particular--like a

tour guide at Disneyland.

WOMAN'S VOICE (OS)

Hello darling.

WIDER.

MRS. GEORGE PARKER (BETTY) enters, untying the back of her

apron. She is a vision of '50s beauty with a thin figure and

concrete hair. Betty crosses to her husband and hands him a

fresh martini. She kisses him on the cheek.

BETTY:

How was your day?

GEORGE:

Oh, swell. You know, Mr. Connel said

that if things keep going the way they

are, I might be seeing that promotion

sooner than I thought.

BETTY:

Oh darling that's wonderful!

(an adoring gaze)

I always knew you could do it.

WAGNER LIVING ROOM. NIGHT.

1996 -- (LIVING COLOR)

DAVID WAGNER sits on his couch watching this entire action on

a sleek new Sony T.V. He stares riveted at the set with a big

smile on his face. David wears black shoes, black pants,

black t-shirt and a black baseball cap, not a nerd exactly

... He reaches next to him into a huge bag of Doritos, never

taking his eyes off the show.

GEORGE (OS)

(on T.V.)

Hey, Pumpkin! What's that smell?

(sniffing)

Is that your meat loaf?

DAVID:

(by rote)

"It might be ..."

BETTY (OS)

(shy smile)

It might be.

He leans over and kisses her--again on the cheek.

GEORGE (OS)

Oh Pumpkin! You sure know the way to

this man's heart.

There is a loud and inappropriate LAUGH TRACK. David smiles

wider and is just about to reach for more corn chips, when

his real MOTHER'S VOICE rings out from the other room.

DAVID'S MOM (OS)

... Bullshit Barry, that wasn't the

deal

INT. KITCHEN.

David's mom paces the room with the phone in her hand.

Between the plastic surgery and the make-up it's hard to fix

her age.

DAVID'S MOM

No--you have custody the first weekend

of every month and this is the first

weekend ...

(pause)

I don't care if yesterday was the

thirtieth, this is still the first

weekend.

INT. LIVING ROOM.

Her words drift in from the kitchen while David stares at the

show.

DAVID'S MOM (OS)

No I can't bail you out, I'm supposed to

go to La Costa ...

(beat)

Well if I want to get a mud bath, that's

really my business, isn't it?

He reaches out and TURNS UP THE SOUND. PLEASANTVILLE plays at

an unnaturally high volume.

GEORGE:

(on T.V.)

Hey. Where are those kids?

DAVID:

(reciting--a little louder)

"Right behind you father."

BUD AND MARY SUE TOGETHER

(on T.V.)

Right behind you father.

RESUME T.V. (BLACK AND WHITE)

The Parkers' son and daughter (BUD AND MARY SUE) enter the

foyer together. Mary Sue wears her hair in a pony tail. Bud

has on a Letterman's sweater.

MARYSUE:

Mother ... Father ... Bud has a little

surprise for you.

BETTY:

What's that Bud?

Bud hesitates for a moment, then folds up a shiny blue

ribbon.

BUD:

First prize at the science fair. There

were lots of swell projects--guess mine

was just the "swellest".

BETTY:

Darling that's wonderful. Except there's

no such word as "swellest".

BUD:

Well gee whizz, Mom. lt wasn't the

"English" fair.

There is another jarring LAUGH TRACK.

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

He smiles right along with it. David stares transfixed at the

set despite the continuing conversation in the other room.

DAVID'S MOM (OS)

Well sure they can stay by themselves,

Barry, but that's not the point. You

said you'd take them.

(beat)

Well fine--they'll stay by themselves

then.

DAVID:

(quietly)

What's a mother to do?

BETTY(OS)

(on T.V.)

Oh--what's a mother to do?

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

He grabs another handful of Doritos staring at the T.V ...

CUT TO:

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL. (SERIES OF SHOTS) DAY.

A cacophony of modem life. Beepers and nose rings--blue hair

and tattoos. Dissonant boom boxes compete with one another.

The hormones are running crazy.

SCHOOL COURTYARD.

lt is a large open area, alive at lunchtime. Groups of kids

hang out together, divided by their various cliques. The

music pounds in the background.

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

He stands at one end of the courtyard beside a chain link

fence. Beads of sweat form on David's forehead as he speaks

to someone in front of him.

DAVID:

Hi. I mean ...

(pause)

... Hi.

REVERSE ANGLE.

A very pretty blonde girl smiles back at him. It's a warm,

welcoming smile.

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

DAVID:

Look. You probably don't think I should

be asking you this. I mean--not knowing

you well and all ...

REVERSE ANGLE. GIRL.

She smiles wider at him, inviting him to continue.

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

DAVID:

(pause ...)

I mean I know you--everybody knows you

... I just don't know you ...

technically.

REVERSE ANGLE. GIRL.

She nods at him ...

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

DAVID:

Well--I was just wondering--'cause I see

you all the time in Algebra and I heard

you humming that Van Halen song and I

really like that song too ...

(pause)

Anyhow, I don't know what you're doing

this weekend but my Mom's leaving town

and she said I could use her car so ...

REVERSE ANGLE. GIRL.

She positively beams. The girl flicks her blonde hair and

stares back at him adoringly.

CLOSE UP. DAVID.

Instead of smiling back, David just stares, then looks at the

ground.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Gary Ross

Gary Ross is an American film director, writer, and author. He directed the film The Hunger Games, as well as Pleasantville and the Best Picture nominated Seabiscuit. more…

All Gary Ross scripts | Gary Ross Scripts

0 fans

Submitted by aviv on November 06, 2016

Discuss this script with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Pleasantville" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/pleasantville_498>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    Pleasantville

    Browse Scripts.com

    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.


    Quiz

    Are you a screenwriting master?

    »
    In what year was "The Shawshank Redemption" released?
    A 1993
    B 1995
    C 1994
    D 1996