Being There (1979)
Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 23,618
Having lived his life as the gardener on a millionaire's estate, Chance (Peter Sellers) knows of the real world only what he has seen on TV. When his benefactor dies, Chance walks aimlessly into the streets of Washington D.C., where he is struck by a car owned by wealthy Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine). Identifying himself, the confused man mutters "Chance...gardener," which Eve takes to be "Chauncey Gardiner." Eve takes him to her home to convalesce, and because Chance is so well-dressed and
Dec 19, 1979 Wide
Apr 3, 2001
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Watch It Now
Chance the Gardener
Dr. Robert Allenby
Denise Du Barry
Katherine de Hetre
Kinney News Research...
Ravenell Keller III
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No one seems to know what to do with the allegorical undertone of Jerzy Kosinski's script, but as a whole this 1979 film maintains a fine level of wit, sophistication, and insight.
Hal Ashby directs Being There at an unruffled, elegant pace, the better to let Mr. Sellers's double-edged mannerisms make their full impression upon the audience.
Satire is a threatened species in American film, and when it does occur, it's usually broad and slapstick, as in the Mel Brooks films. Being There, directed by Hal Ashby, is a rare and subtle bird that finds its tone and stays with it.
a product not of Ashby's essential modesty but of Kosinski's essential egoism.
While the story is utterly ridiculous, since not everyone would be fooled all the time, it still works as a charming work of fiction.
Sellers uses simple looks and gestures to bring light to some very serious situations. At many points it's like he's in a trance, truly embodying Chance.
Whether Being There is an indictment of our narrow view of the world, a celebration of empty-headedness or all of the above, "Life is a state of mind," and Ashby's film is a gift to treasure. [Blu-ray]
...one of the shrewdest, funniest, and most touching sociopolitical satires in movie history.
So anti-Tom Hanks it ain't funny.
Peter Sellers' peculiar talents are ideally suited to the role of the idiot savant, and despite the Oscar going to co-star Douglas, his is the standout performance of a fascinating, funny film.
Jerzy Kosinski's modern fable gets a terrific translation to the screen due to his tight screenplay, capable direction by Ashby, and a marvelous performance by Sellers, one unlike any other in his career.
In an Oscar-nominated turn as a simpleton who rises to the top, Peter Sellers renders a remarkable performance in Ashby's satirical fable, one that doesn't rely on make-up, accent or impersonation.
Brilliant Ashby classic, Peter Sellers' best.
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