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#172- Being There

Quick recap: A man who isn’t very bright somehow gets himself wrapped up with some of America’s most powerful politicians

 (Photo by Cooper Neill/WireImage)

(Photo by Cooper Neill/WireImage)

Fun (?) fact: from IMDb, because I couldn’t have said it any better, “The inscription “Life is a state of mind” is on Rand’s tomb and also serves as the last line in the movie. These words were also inscribed on Peter Sellers’ own tomb, when he died a year after the movie was released.

My thoughts: This movie was wonderful but it is so difficult to settle on why exactly I loved it so much. Being There is one of those movies where you spend the entire time feeling sorry for the protagonist, almost cringing at times, yet wanting him to succeed despite it all. A couple of examples come to mind: 40 Year Old Virgin and Stranger than Fiction (but not Forrest Gump. A different rant for a different day, my friends).

So, on a completely superficial level, the premise of this movie is hilarious. Peter Sellers plays Chance the gardener, who is LITERALLY a gardener and everything he says has to do with either gardening or tv, another favorite past time. At one point, Chance gets an opportunity to sit down with the President and talk about the economy. The President wants to know Chance’s thoughts on its current state and he responds by naming the different seasons. The President interprets what Chance is saying as the economy is growing and will continue to grow with a proper gardener. Women are just as enamored as the President is and with every weird thing Chance does, people see it as something profound.

Being There is as deep as you make it. Like Chance the gardener, the movie itself is a vacuum for which you can project whatever meaning you would like. Racial inequality? Political ineptitude? The clueless rich? It’s all there for the interpretation. Or you could just sit back and laugh because it’s good for that, too.

Final review: 5/5. Also, Satine from Moulin Rouge absolutely recreates a scene from this movie. If not for anything else, watch Being There for that.

Up next: The Battle of Algiers

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