This week’s movie of the day is Being There (1979) directed by Hal Ashby. Starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, and Melvyn Douglas. I remember the first time I watched this movie was because I am such an admirer of the director of this film: Hal Ashby.
I just finished watching one of his other films. Harold and Maude and I absolutely love the film! I really enjoyed the dark humor and unique outlook of the film. So I looked for other movies that he directed and came across Being There.
Now I am a huge fan of Peter Sellers movies and I came to realized that I never saw him in a dramatic role. So watching this movie was a nice change of pace from watching being ultra in your face funny to under layer of a more human and even temper character.
Peter Sellers plays a man named Chance who lived a very sheltered life as a gardener in his boss’s home in Washington DC. He has never left the house nor knows the comforts of technology other than television nor can he read or write. When his boss dies Chance suddenly has to leave everything he is used to and have to venture fully on his own in the streets of DC.
During a car accident he becomes injury by a limo who is owned by a wife of a super wealthy and highly regarded businessman. Chance suddenly gets wisk away to their house where he meets the businessmen named Benjamin Rand. He is in extreme ill health from a sickness he knows that he will not get better from. From there a very unlikely bond happens between Chance and Mr. Rand. Chance becomes that hottest and most talked about person in Washington DC. His simple ways of being a gardener reaches and touches the political minds of Washington DC into a frenzy.
I have been re-watching this movie on the Criterion Collection channel, and I still feel like it holds up in many ways for me. The last time I saw it was in 2008 and I still feel like the performances are very strong.
Fun fact about this movie: Burt Lancaster was being considered for the role of Benjamin Rand.
Have you seen this movie or any of Hal Ashby films? If so which one is the most memorable? Comment below!
Until next time!!!