Wednesday, February 1, 2012

100 Movies - No. 13: Being There

13. Being There (1979)
Drama, Comedy, 130 minutes
Directed by Hal Ashby
Starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas

Being There is an unusual movie which is told in an understated way. The events unfold slowly and the viewer is left to reflect on any meaning. Peter Sellers stars as Chance. He tends the garden of an old man and is left homeless when the man dies. The relationship is never explained. Is he the man's son?

The story takes off when Chance leaves the comfort of the only surroundings he has ever known and enters the real world. He is a simple man and apparently doesn't understand the concept of lying. When someone tells him anything, he takes it literally. He suffers a minor injury when a car hits him and the owner, Eve (MacLaine), offers to have him checked out by her doctor.

Although Chance knows nothing of the real world and just talks about his former job as a gardener, others take his words to heart and think that he's using metaphors. It's funny to see how much of an impact his innocent remarks have on the people around him.

Sellers was nominated for his performance and Melvyn Douglas won an Oscar for his portrayal of Eve's dying husband.

If you like Being There:

I think Being There is a unique movie, so it's hard to recommend similar movies. It's always fun watching Sellers, so consider Dr. Strangelove, The Party, or the Pink Panther series if you enjoyed his performance in Being There.

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