Reviewed by Dan Lybarger
September 14, 1997
With the rise of 24-hour news and of a mass media in which tabloid innuendo and facts are often indistinguishable, Jerzy Kosinki’s satire Being There is even more bitingly funny than when it debuted in 1979. Peter Sellers stars as Chance the Gardener, who has a green thumb and an underdeveloped brain. Through a bizarre set of circumstances, the slow-witted, TV-obsessed Chance becomes a leading political pundit. Hal Ashby’s direction is measured, but on-target, and Seller delivers a deft, low-key performance that earned him an Oscar-nomination. Melvyn Douglas won an Academy Award for playing Chance’s oblivious benefactor. The film is marred by some ethnic stereotypes and by a silly scene where Shirley Maclaine seduces Chance in an unusual way. Nonetheless, Being There remains potent because it is an eerily prophetic look at how fast and cheap news has become (PG). Rating: 9.
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This page was last updated on 10/28/97.