- 1979 Comedy/Satire
- 2h 10 min
It’s been a tough time politically around these parts, so maybe that’s why Being There comes off as eerily prophetic. This comedy/farce from 1979 predicts the rise of an incompetent fool to extraordinary power by the virtue of simply “being there”.
Chance, a simple-minded gardener, has lost his job and home after his wealthy Washington D.C. benefactor dies. Because of his mental delays, he only understands gardening and television, which he watches for hours in his down time. Kicked out of the townhouse he has always lived in as the gardener, he begins to wander around town wearing the fancy hand me downs his boss gave him to wear. So, basically, because he dresses nicely and is a white man wandering around D.C., he is assumed to be important. And because all he ever says are quips he repeats from his favorite television shows, he ends up becoming influential in politics.
Hmmm. This was filmed as a farce, and Peter Sellers is hilarious as always. But… this movie is SCARY. Chance is an absolutely terrifying character, not because he is evil but because he is listened to. If he decides to break bad… All the characters around him, meanwhile, either suspect he is simple or are so deluded they cannot be bothered. Either way, what a prescient, disturbing comment on our society and beliefs.
Whatever your thoughts are about this current political mess we are living in, this is worth a watch. And oh man Peter Sellers is freakishly good at the acting thing.