The main character (Chance) is a boy locked in the body of a man. He lived in a big house as a gardener for all his life. Now he's out on his own. He doesn't know how to write or read. All he knows is how to plant and garden works. One day, he meets rich people and changed their lives.
The review of this Movie prepared by TingTing Chen
“Being There” was Peter Sellers' triumphant final film. He plays the childlike “Chance the Gardner,” an isolated job he's had for life. Taken care of for decades, everything Chance knows he's learned through watching TV, which is on constantly.
When the landlord dies, Chance must venture thru seedy Washington, D.C. neighborhoods. Hungry and walking for hours, he immediately terrifies a black woman by asking her to bring him his lunch.
When he steps back to see his image in a store window TV, the limo of wealthy Eve Rand (MacLaine) slowly backs into him and she insists their doctor check his leg. As they watch the backseat TV, Chance accepts his first-ever Scotch and coughs that he's (plausibly) “Chauncey Gardner.”
When he meets the dying Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas) and babbles his monotone nonsense, everyone strains with fascination to decipher the meanings of his gardening metaphors. “You plant in the fall” must mean to watch for a cyclical economy.
In an odd way, “Being There” reminded me of both “Big” and “Trading Places,” in that it is not that difficult to “fake it ‘til you make it” in today business and social circles. Simply dress the part and tell people what they want and let them fill in the rest.
The review of this Movie prepared by Angry Jim Magin
Chance, a simple, slow-witted and middle-aged gardener (Sellers), has never been off the grounds of his employer's estate until the wealthy old man dies. Cut loose, he wanders the streets of Washington, D.C. with no survival skills other than the platitudes he's learned from television. After a mishap with a limousine, he winds up in the company of a wealthy woman (MacLaine) and her sick but influential businessman husband. His new friends introduce him to the President, who like nearly everyone else is unduly impressed by Chance's simple but wise-sounding statements. (The only people not taken in are a maid and some doctors, but they aren't able to do anything about it.) Eventually, Chance's female benefactor is widowed and marries him, and there's talk of running him for President. Though pitched as a sort of light sardonic farce, this 1979 movie (based on the novel by Jerzy Kosinski) is subtly frightening because most of the characters are not communicating; worse, they don't realize they're not communicating; and worst of all, it doesn't seem to matter. Sellers is magnificently unsettling in the lead role; it's a pity he was unsuccessful in his campaign to get the filmmakers to keep from showing out-takes of him losing his facade, which run during the credits.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus
Chance the gardner (Peter Sellers) awakes one morning to learn that the "old man," his master, has died. Later, lawyers for the man's estate arrive, not expecting to find anyone at the house. Chance is not listed in any records; indeed, it becomes clear that he cannot prove that he himself exists. One thing is sure: all he knows of the world he learned from watching television. For the first time in his life, he ventures outside the house, which is in rundown Washington, DC. By chance, he ends up in a small accident with a rich woman's (Shirley MacLaine) car and ends up at her husband's palatial home. Benjamin Rand takes a shine to the person he believes is "Chauncey Gardner;" a simpleton he takes as an enigmatic and deeply contemplative thinker. Rich and powerful Ben introduces him to the President, to whom Chance makes cryptic comments that the president takes as a wise analogy of the seasons and the economy. A national TV appearance spreads "Chauncey's" fame. The only person who knows him, the "old man's" kindly maid, sizes up Chance's words: gobbledygook. The rich and powerful assume "Chauncey's" simple words imply great intelligence. Ben's doctor suspects that Chauncey may in fact have a child's mind, but is not certain. Background checks of "Chauncey's" past find nothing. Sexually frustrated Eve, Ben's wife, is attracted to "Chauncey" and Ben, mortally ill, blesses their union. When sickly Ben dies, his powerful friends, who apparently constitute a shadow government, talk of running "Chauncey" for president. His apparent lack of a past is his greatest asset, they argue.
The review of this Movie prepared by M. Schreiner