I don’t mind the odd depressing tale, but when it’s done so meekly that you pity EVERYTHING in the world including every character except the protagonist Chance, then suspension of reality and nuance can become too cumbersome on the viewer.
It’s like his bed which Chance says faces 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. 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 it didn’t feel the least bit realistic to me. We are just expected to play along and believe me I tried. I was entranced for the first 50 minutes, but the remainder left me unfulfilled. Being There had great acting, but overall poor direction.
My choice for a depressing tale which possesses exceptional acting and superior 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. I believe ‘Remains’ to be the most underrated movie of the last two decades.
In ‘Being There’ 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 is 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 life.