BEING THERE (1979). With Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Richard A. Dysart, Ruth Attaway and Jack Warden. Written by Jerzy Kosinski and directed by Hal Ashby.
Peter Sellers died seven months after 'Being There' was released. He certainly knew how to go out. His character in 'Being There,' the enigmatic Chance, is as frustrating and original as they come. The same goes for the film -- it is the strangest, most elusive I've ever seen. Posterity has judged it as provocative, as Sellers' best and most nuanced performance, as both indictment and folly. 'Being There' has the unique ability to seem like it's saying everything -- society is gullible, we believe what we want to believe, television is consumptive, politicians are impotent, man craves platitudes -- while saying nothing. The movie disturbed me, made me uncomfortable. It's thoroughly depressing in its own way, yet it reaches for something. But for what does it reach? I'd like answers.