Late into the film, just after Our Hero (Tobey Maguire) decides to stick out the nastiness of the changes occuring in Pleasantville and ignores the pleadings of the cable repairman, he sees his mother being harrassed for being "coloured". Earlier on he was angsting over how everybody else was turning coloured but nothing he did would pull him from his monochrome appearance. However, when he runs up and punches his mother's attacker he magically springs into technicolour.
My sarcastic response is usually to say "he's a real man now". I saw his fundamental change being that of assuming the 'courage' and bravery of Men. My friend Polly though suggested that his changing was due to his decision to finally take care of his mother. I don't agree with this because I think he more than takes care of her in earlier parts.
I'm not sure I really have the vocabulary to express what I'm taking issue with in this case. Has anybody else seen this movie? What do they they think about the 'defining moment'?