I don’t mind the odd depressing tale, but when its done so meakishly that you pity EVERYTHING in the world including every character except our protagonist Chance, it becomes an almost Sci Fi movie.
Not unlike the untold history of the main character, this movie is littered with ignorance and downright incredibility. It’s like his bed which Chance says is facing North but we realise early on that his bed is facing East. All the time ‘as viewers’ we are to believe that everyone except the maid believes he is this wondrous, illusive yet ingenious political player. The believing in this story is almost counter-intuitive to our good senses as insightful human beings.
Chance is so wise that he advises the president on policy using a simple gardening philosophy, but not the least does this feel authentic, yet we are so supposed to play along. And I tried. Outtakes at the end which show the real actor Peter Sellers laughing at his own lines, is kind of a kick in the head and reenforced everything I felt wrong in the movie. Like Kubrick’s ‘Dr Strangelove’ which also stars our main man Peter Sellers, I was entranced for the first 50 minutes, but the remainder left me unfulfilled. Being There contained super acting, but overall poor direction.
My choice of super acting and super direction about a flawed, yet uniquely proud individual is ‘Remains of the Day’ with Anthony Hopkins. Now that direction is handled with poise and delicate sensibility. Easily, the most underrated movie in the last two decades IMO. Hopkins performance in this far surpasses anything he has ever done including Hannibal.
I get where the director wanted to go and how they wanted to get there. But to use Chance’s kind of philosophy, ‘it’s like a bud of a burgeoning flower which sprouts its hollywood wings to become a plethora of bigger Hollywood makings which will burden us in the 80′s with plentiful incredulous story lines requiring an ever greater degree of suspension of belief.’
I don’t take this movie lightly as it one of my ol’ mans favourites, but unfortunately we will have to agree to disagree on this being a ‘classic movie’. I wish he had seen more European movies especially those by a man called Ingmar Bergman and he probably wished I’d seen more by Sellers. Such is the way.