Being There (1979)

Comedy
Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden
A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted adviser to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.
Smart, sophisticated, and refreshingly subtle, Being There soars behind sensitive direction from Hal Ashby and a stellar Peter Sellers performance.
  • Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 19 Dec 1979 Released:
  • 03 Apr 2001 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Jerzy Kosinski (novel), Jerzy Kosinski (screenplay Writer:
  • Hal Ashby Director:
  • N/A Website:
The Great Peter Sellers5/10

Peter Sellers should have taken home the Academy Award for his role in Being There. A lifetime of comedies behind him, Sellers ended his career as an actor and a comic legend with this classic. Hard to believe that this was made over 20 years ago, it is still as funny as ever. Since then, no other comedian has captured the raw talent of comedy that Sellers could create. The silent comedy and the physical comedy that Sellers made was not only timeless but funnier than most of the comedy we see in film today. Second to maybe his role in Lolita and in the Pink Panther series, Sellers is not only funny, but gives his best performance in Being There. A terrific story with interesting and real characters, Being There is a delight.
A well-kept secret5/10

This film is an absolute jewel. The main character, played by Peter Sellers, is the exact opposite of the film itself. Chauncey/Chance is simple, vapid, unconcerned and utterly unselfconscious, yet he radiates an image of being ponderous, calculating, and complex. The film is deceptively straightforward and uncomplicated on the surface, but is rich and complex upon reflection. The film is very enigmatic (even the title seems to make no sense, even though it seems like it should) and lends itself to interpretation. This is one of those films that you have to talk about after seeing it, and you'll find endless points of view to consider. More than that, however, this film is historically fascinating. Taken as a whole, the movie, the book, the behind the scenes intrigue, the place it holds in the careers of the Stars, the writers and the directors, makes this an exceptionally interesting and enjoyable film.
Sellers deserves the Oscar not hanks,10/10
When I first saw Being There I was all of 10 years old, and for some reason, I loved it. And yet I could never exactly say why. Several years latter while looking for another movie, I happen across this video and read the review. Chance Gardner played charmingly by Peter Sellers, ( I think that is what the reviewer wrote) stumbles his way into the upper crest where he is mistaken for someone with deep knowledge of the world. Other reviews point out this movie is cynical characterization of self absorbed people in politics and media. As a kid I didn't get that, and now on further reflection what I liked about this movie was how these people where drawn to Chances innocence. In some ways Forrest Gump tried to attempt to tell this story line, but only manages to rehash old stereotypes. Being There depicts in clever, real characters who use a veil of politeness to cover up a cynicisim they have of their world and their own power. But for a kid and maybe why it has a cult following is because the heart of the show, whats addicting about is no matter how self absorbed we become, our best nature is drawn to a simple life, absent of complications. After watching the movie again, the dark comedy is more apparent, but I am happy to say that in the "Life and death of Peter Sellers", Sellers himself interpreted the character as I thought of it when I was kid. Gardner is a man who is sublimely content with no past and no future, and therefore no worries. As a kid I kind of new that as innocence. So if you rent this movie don't just see it as a black comedy, but also see it how a kid might, and for that matter how Peter Sellers saw it.
Perhaps one of the saddest movies ever made?5/10

To learn that Peter Sellers spent the last ten years of his life dedicated to producing this film, reluctantly taking parts in the Pink Panther series to gain enough money to do so, is dedication enough to tell you that this film meant a lot to Sellers.

It is sad that Sellers died just one year after completing the film, which to me stands as a testament to his talent.

Being There was not a successful film, indeed many people have never heard of it. If you haven't seen it, track it down. It is one of the most touching films I have ever seen.
Quietly Demonstrates What an Enormous Talent Peter Sellers Was.5/10

The original "Forrest Gump" came out in 1979 when Hal Ashby's "Being There" was first released. A quietly brilliant, hilarious, heart-wrenching and heart-warming motion picture that showed how great Peter Sellers (Oscar-nominated) was and how limitless his range was. He stars as a gardener at an old mansion in Washington, D.C. who has never been outside of the owner's small piece of property. When the owner dies, he has to leave the only home he has ever known. Sellers has no knowledge of anything except what he sees on television and he has a strange sort of child-like innocence that endears him to all he comes into contact with. After a minor accident, Sellers is taken to the home of a ridiculously wealthy political lobbyist (Melvyn Douglas in his second Oscar-winning performance) who is literally being kept alive as he has a rare form of cancer. Douglas immediately takes a liking to Sellers and so does his much-younger wife (Shirley MacLaine). Sellers is now in the spotlight though as he gets to meet the president (Jack Warden) and slowly starts to gain popularity and political support from those around him. Of course Sellers does not realize any of this as his understanding of such things are beyond his somewhat limited mental capabilities. A simply brilliant film that is carried by Sellers' amazing personal best performance. Everyone else is adequate, but this is Sellers' show. Douglas won the Oscar mainly due to sympathy votes, but surprisingly Sellers would die before Douglas as he passed away less than six months after receiving his Oscar nod of a massive heart attack. As good as Dustin Hoffman was in "Kramer vs. Kramer", I still wish that Sellers would have won the Oscar for this role which is one of the finest performances ever throughout the entire history of the cinema. 5 stars out of 5.