in about 100 words or less
USA 130m, Colour
Director: Hal Ashby; Cast: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart, Richard Basehart
Being There is a wonderful film starring Peter Sellers as Chance – a simple minded gardener who had never been outside the walls of his Washington D.C. home – until his protector – “the old man” dies and he is thrust into a world he had only enjoyed watching on television. In this respect, Chance was the prototype for cinema’s most famous overachiever: Forrest Gump. Ultimately, it’s the child-like worldviews of these characters which free them from their own limitations, and which contribute to their likability. Despite the improbability of the events, including a meeting with the President of the United States where Chance provides advice on the economy – the excellent screenplay and fine performances are convincing enough to suspend one’s own disbelief (Klaus Ming January 2010).