Opening Statement

I may have been the exact target audience for Being There. I did not understand Chance in the same way most of the other characters in the film do not. I simply perceived what he was and put my own meaning and expectation onto him. This is the point—Chance is simply there — Zachary Davis, August 7, 2017

First Viewing: Re-thinking Peter Sellers

The class, myself included, rejected the film almost immediately. None of us could get past how, well, how old Peter Sellers was. You see in the book, Chance’s youth and attractiveness are repeatedly remarked upon so this 55-year-old, graying actor with the prominent nose didn’t fit the bill — by Sarah Gorr, August 8, 2017

A Reflection We Don't Recognize

While misunderstandings lead to many of the jokes in the film, they also serve as a catalyst for profound change in a few characters. These transformations are most visible in Rand. From the first moment that we first see him, it’s clear he’s dying. Over the course of the film, though, Rand undergoes a remarkable change — by Alex Moore, August 9, 2017

Dual Interpretations

What I think is striking about this film is that there immediately seem to be two ways of interpreting it. At least to my view, there was little intentional directorial swaying one way or the other on how we are supposed to view Chance the gardener. A viewer can either look at it as an optimistic bootstraps narrative, or a cynical and even racist commentary — by Felicia Elliott, August 10, 2017

Televising Reality

Television is as much of a focal point for Hal Ashby’s direction as it is for Chance himself. A television is in most scenes, and sometimes the film seems to take a brief detour into the set, allowing the audience to watch. This constant reflection showcases the difference of contexts that exists in interpreting reality — by Zachary Davis, August 11, 2017

Related Review: A Shot in the Dark

Between his work in Being There and A Shot in the Dark, Peters Sellers showed off his immense range of talent as a comedic actor. Whereas Chance the gardener is a stoic, underwhelming, slightly mysterious presence, his performance as the iconic Inspector Clouseau in the long-running Pink Panther series is brash, debonair, and physically expressive — by Aaron Pinkston, August 11, 2017