Being There-94pts. Yet another exhibit in the proposition that the 70s may have been the best decade in the history of "Hollywood." This 1979 film was one of the last great movies of the decade and was also director Hal Ashby's last great movie. Ashby kicked off the 70s with Harold and Maude in 1971; the Nicholson tour de force The Last Detail in 1973, the so good and now mostly forgotten Shampoo in 1975, the unseen by me (and with no interest to watch) Woody Gutherie biopic--Bound for Glory; his big moment in the sun Coming Home which had 8 Academy Award nominations and won Jon Voight and Jane Fonda the best actor/actress awards in 1978 and finally Being There. After this picture Ashby's drug use and erratic behavior took control and his career nosedived until he died in 1988.
Being There was released less than a year before Peter Sellers died. He gives the most incredible restrained performance of all time and yet you can feel the intense Sellers boiling underneath. He once said that he modeled much of his character's expressions on Stan Laurel. Proof of the absurdness of the Oscar, Sellers was rob for the second time with movie.
So many times women today are labeled "fearless." It's one of those Entertainment Weekly/US Magazines thinks to say. However, Shirley MacLaine gives a truly fearless performance, particularly because Chance likes to watch.
The music is interesting, mostly solo piano and sometimes accompanied by a harp and sometimes strings. And there's also a clever, if too long, use of a pop-fusion-jazz version of the theme from 2001-A Space Odyssey.
Due to showing this to a friend after having already just watched it a few days earlier; I saw it twice in less than a week. Though a two hour and ten minute film I was not bored for a second either time. Simply brilliant.