Once you get past the initial 1st act set up, the movie really opens up into something incredible. It's a grand statement about the wonder, complexity, and beauty of the world. A film that makes me happy to be alive.
I haven't seen this movie in over 16 years. I remember checking out at the local library and actually digging the movie's concept of sin/color contrasting black and white/1950's nuclear family puritanical false exterior.
This movie, like it's name suggests gives off an air of pleasantness. There's nothing wrong in the film, it's direction, design, acting and story are all very good but not great. It's themes are very transparent. Toby McGuire gives a very weird performance as always. Jeff Daniels kills it. It has a message and it will beat you over the head with it, but that's okay.
Hmm...as far as fairy tales go, it starts off interesting, achieves some moments off spectacular artistry, then runs out of things to do with Reese Witherspoon, tries to handle a few too many subjects, and settles on an ending that opens some significant unfortunate implications, emotionally speaking. As a whole, it's a simple, charming, liberal fairy tale clearly born from a singular vision. And that's pleasant.