Trailer
Assistive Technologies

Being There

Runtime
2hrs 10mins
Directed by
Hal Ashby
Featuring
Peter Sellers,
Shirley MacLaine,
Melvyn Douglas
Body

In one of his most finely tuned performances, Peter Sellers plays the pure-hearted, childlike Chance, a gardener who is forced into the wilds of Washington, D.C., when his wealthy guardian dies. 

Shocked to discover that the real world doesn’t respond to the click of a remote, Chance stumbles into celebrity after being taken under the wing of a tycoon (Melvyn Douglas, in an Oscar-winning performance), who mistakes his protégé’s horticultural mumblings for sagacious pronouncements on life and politics, and whose wife (Shirley MacLaine) targets Chance as the object of her desire. Adapted from a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, this satire, both deeply melancholy and hilarious, is the culmination of Hal Ashby’s remarkable string of films in the 1970s, and a carefully modulated examination of the ideals, anxieties, and media-fueled delusions that shaped American culture during that decade. - The Criterion Collection

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