Being There
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Having lived his life as the gardener on a millionaire's estate, Chance (Peter Sellers) knows of the real world only what he has seen on TV. When his benefactor dies, Chance walks aimlessly into the streets of Washington D.C., where he is struck by a car owned by wealthy Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine). Identifying himself, the confused man mutters "Chance...gardener," which Eve takes to be "Chauncey Gardiner." Eve takes him to her home to convalesce, and because Chance is so well-dressed and well-groomed, and because he speaks in such a cultured tone, everyone in her orbit… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Here is a comedy that valiantly defies both gravity and the latest Hollywood fashion."
‑ Frank Rich, TIME Magazine
"What emerges in the end is a strange ambiguity of attitude to the American political system and a hollow humour about cultural values. The cinema of cynicism, really."
‑ Chris Auty, Time Out
"Hal Ashby's satirical parable on the way the USA surrenders itself to homespun evangelicalism gives Peter Sellers the role of a lifetime."
‑ Tom Hutchinson, Radio Times
"Peter Sellers gives a stellar performance."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"If you are going to see only one Peter Sellers movie, see Dr. Strangelove, but if you're going to see two, then Being There also belongs on your must-see list."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"A highly unusual and an unusually fine film."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Hal Ashby directs Being There at an unruffled, elegant pace, the better to let Mr. Sellers's double-edged mannerisms make their full impression upon the audience."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The movie's main effect is to confirm how versatile Sellers has always been."
‑ , People Magazine
"Amazingly poignant performance by Peter Sellers."
‑ Kelly Kessler, Common Sense Media
"While the story is utterly ridiculous, since not everyone would be fooled all the time, it still works as a charming work of fiction."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"No one seems to know what to do with the allegorical undertone of Jerzy Kosinski's script, but as a whole this 1979 film maintains a fine level of wit, sophistication, and insight."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Satire is a threatened species in American film, and when it does occur, it's usually broad and slapstick, as in the Mel Brooks films. Being There, directed by Hal Ashby, is a rare and subtle bird that finds its tone and stays with it."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A Gumpish plot? Perhaps, but Being There is much more subtle and enigmatic than that."
‑ , Total Film
"a product not of Ashby's essential modesty but of Kosinski's essential egoism."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"Sellers uses simple looks and gestures to bring light to some very serious situations. At many points it's like he's in a trance, truly embodying Chance."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
More reviews for Being There on Rotten Tomatoes

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