Being There

• TOP NOTCH (my top choices)
• HONORABLE MENTION (well worth watching)
• YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER (I like them but you might not)
• CLASSICS (Great movies up through the 1960s - many don't have any rating)

 Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas       

Summary -  A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.

Cautions - Some swearing early in the movie. One scene where Shirley MacLaine's character is "discovering herself" (not graphic). The main character is propositioned for sex by another man.

Commentary - Before Forrest Gump, there was Chance the gardener. Even for it's awards, this film seems to have been largely forgotten. It's an incredibly unique film and one that grips you with a quiet but firm curiosity to find out how far our hero's simplicity and honesty will take him. It is boggling that Peter Sellers didn't get an Oscar nod for this role. I couldn't take my eyes off of him and he rarely does anything. I can't recall when I've seen such an understated performance be so powerful.

There are a couple of scenes that I think went a little low brow for my tastes (Shirley MacLaine's bear rug snuggle toward the end just seemed very out of place in what is otherwise a pretty clean and sweet movie).  But the story remains largely unaffected by such misfires. Ultimately, Being There is a witty morality tale that allows Sellers to do what he does best: weave a genuinely memorable character that manages to earn affection from the characters he encounters on the screen and from the viewers watching the film at home. Give it a shot and see if you feel as strongly as I do about Chance the Gardener.


Popular Posts