This film is like none I have ever seen before. In the past, when I thought of Peter Sellers (who plays lead character "Chance the Gardener"), my mind automatically went to Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther series. I thought of the bumbling, clumsy and silly detective in hot persuit of the pink panther jewel. What a terrific change of pace! I really got a sense of Peter Sellers' depth as an actor in this brilliant film. Sellers, Melvyn Douglas, and Shirley Maclaine were all strong leads in this story, along with a great supporting cast.
BEING THERE tells the story of Chance, the Gardener, a simple man who spends his entire life gardening in the backyard of his boss' house, until one day the old man passes away. When a couple of journalists come around to find out more about the former master of the house, Chance is the only one there. The house must close, and for the first time the man must make strides into the big, wide world. This world is like nothing he could have ever imagined outside of the house where he worked. One thing that keeps him tranquil and holds his attention is the television. As Chance says, "I like to watch." (this line is misinterpreted a few times during the course of the movie.) By chance, Chance meets up with Shirley Maclaine the wife of an elderly billionaire. This is just the beginning of an intriguing series of events where Chance--renamed Chauncey Gardner--the simple man who speaks of plants and their growth (the only real knowledge he has about the world) becomes central as wise sage in one of the most intriguing political ventures.
This film has moments of laugh-out-loud comedy, and serious elements as well. (The final scene is chilling.....that is all I am going to say......)
Check it out if you are in the mood for something completely different. In the words of Chauncy, this is definitely a film "I like to watch."