Throughout the movie Pleasantville it becomes clear to us that one of the key ideas is change. Change occurs in different forms in this movie and is also resisted at times. Two characters that embrace the change are Margaret Henderson and Bill Johnson. Two characters that try to resist the change are Skip Martin and Big Bob. Throughout the movie these four characters experience the change in different ways, helping us to empathize with the characters and see this change through their eyes. One character that embraces the change is Margaret Henderson. In the movie she is Bud’s girlfriend.
One of the main ways she embraces the change is through the influence of Bud. He helps her to see that the change is for the best and she should embrace it. When many things happen that are unusual to the population of Pleasantville Margaret tends to embrace it and seems interested rather than scared like many of the other characters. One instance is when Margaret and Bud are having a conversation at lovers lane and she asks bud what it is like outside of Pleasantville and he tells her “… It’s different” and she is intrigued asking him how and when he tells her “it’s scarier, louder and a lot more dangerous” she says it “sounds wonderful”.
This shows the audience that she is eager to find out more about what she doesn’t know, that she accepts change and is curious about it. She is one of the characters that has this attitude and truly believes the change is for the better and she willingly lets adapts to the change. One character that resists the change is Skip Martin. In the movies he is Mary Sue’s boyfriend, at least for a little while. There is one situation in the movie that is very significant that shows he does not agree with the change. This is when the book-burning scene occurs.
He shows that he wants to take part and help the people trying to get rid of the changes and that he does not agree with what is becoming of their so pleasant world. In the book-burning scene he shows that he is against the change by the way he participates in the burning of the library books even though his girlfriend Mary Sue is starting to read and really enjoying it. Skip tries to take Mary Sue’s book and instead of supporting her he supports the people that are against the change and encourages the burning of the books, he believes “… it is for the better” to burn her books.
This scene shows that regardless of who is involved he doesn’t believe that the change is right and will do everything he can to stop the rest of the town from changing or becoming ‘unpleasant’. Another character that accepts the change is Bill Johnson. At first he seems scared and unused to change, which is in one of the first scenes at the soda shop when he says to Bud “I didn’t know what to do … you weren’t here to put out all the napkins and glasses so I kept wiping instead of making the french fries”.
However as the movie progresses he begins to accept it and even embrace it. He shows this by the colours he uses in his artwork and a scene between him and Betty at the Soda Shop. This scene is after she has turned coloured and is trying to hide her colour by grey make up. However she starts crying and the make up begins to wash away. He tells her that “it’s beautiful” and the audience starts to see that he is truly accepting and even mesmerized by the colour on her face.
This scene shows Bill’s real colours and that he really does like the change and believes it is for the better. By having this attitude he supports others who are scared of the change and helps them to embrace it rather than being scared of it. Another character that resists the change is Big Bob. Anytime any change happens he is very against it and makes that clear to the rest of the town. He has a hostile attitude towards change and one scene that demonstrates this is when he holds a meeting at the town hall regarding the changes.
He gives a speech saying “Obviously certain changes have been happening. Up until now, things in Pleasantville have always been… well pleasant. And recently certain things have become… unpleasant. Now it seems to me what we have to do is separate the unpleasant things from the pleasant things”. This shows that he does not agree with the changes and sees them as unpleasant and that they need to be gotten rid of before things get any worse.
Because Big Bob is the Mayor he expects people to share his beliefs and follow him with getting rid of all the ‘unpleasant’ things, however some people accept and like the change so it isn’t as simple as he hopes making him more sour and against change then when it first started occurring. In the movie Pleasantville change occurs in many characters in many different ways. Some characters embrace it and some others resist it but at the end of the movie everyone has changed and grown, this shows that change is needed in order to grow.