Loved the subtlety of this gentle satire, but failed to connect to the emotional thread Ashby crafted, and had some trouble believing Chance's "garden philosophy" and how it impacted those around him. The constant misinterpretation became tiring. Still, much love for Sellers' performance and Caleb Deschanel's photography. It is, however, Melvyn Douglas who completely steals the show.
Sellers is the sole reason why this rises above what is predicted by its formulaic structure. He is sublime; he is tragedy and comedy magically intertwined. But if you take him out of the picture, this is just too linear. You know where the film is headed at all times - narratively, ideologically, emotionally, symbolically...
One of the best movie I've ever seen. BEING THERE is sweet, heart-warming, and well-written. Peter Sellers gives an extraordinary performance as Mr. Chance. I can't think any other actors who could play him as great as Mr. Sellers in this movie. Melvyn Douglas and Shirley Maclaine also did a stellar work in this movie. I was - kinda amazed with its storytelling. It's just simply BEAUTIFUL. BEING THERE is a cinema gem
The one and single only film which perfectionistic Mr. Sellers approved of (he directed, produced and scripted also). It is easily his most masterful performance as a dimwit who always says the correct things by coincidence and keeps proceeding up sociopolitical ladders with the irony that he will never understand any significance whatsoever. There are a lot of elements in this which will always be relevant.
I guess I'm supposed to be charmed and amused by Peter Sellers acting like a bumbling idiot for two hours, spewing the most optimistic vague bullshit and social commentary so inoffensive and paper thin that it can be used by almost anybody. Both Being There and Hal Ashby don't say anything, but that's why people find them interesting. It is the Forest Gump of the New Hollywood. But hey, that last shot was nice!
Regardless of how varying the interpretations may be, I have trouble when a film ventures 2 advance by way of allegory alone. The intention of each scene is essentially the same: Chance draws another character toward some kind of emotional &/or political clarity, however delusional. Such situational repetition quickly becomes tedious. Admittedly, this seems 2 be a problem w/ the source material; I'm no Kosiński fan.