Being There (1979)
Peter Sellers was nominated for a Golden Globe (won) and Best Actor for an Academy Award for his performance. This was the last film he made before his death.
Chance the Gardener was a simpleton. Growing up in the home of a wealthy man he did chores around the property unless he was busy watching t.v., his only connection to the world outside of the front gate. When the old man dies Chance is literally out in the cold when he leaves the property for the first time in his life with no lifeskills whatsoever.
When he is injured by a limo driver his world takes a most interesting turn. Off he goes to an estate with Shirley MacLaine where he becomes a revered man of great depth and intelligence amonst the political movers and shakers in Washington.
Chance's simple minded statements are often mistaken as humor or confused with deep and profound thoughts. He speaks his mind literally but others interpret it in their own way. When Chance says all he has is the room upstairs that is exactly what he means, a bedroom. The big businessman he is talking to thinks he is refering to death and heaven.
Most of Chance's brilliant advice is related to what he knows about gardening. It is a perfect metaphor for the political questions that are posed to him. He talks of the roots of the plants and the changing of the seasons and the President thinks he is referring to economic growth in the spring.
That is what I love about this movie. It shows how people are so easily swayed. How they thrive on what they think he is saying. They read great wisdom into his innocent observations and it spreads like wild fire. It shows how if you sound like you know what you are talking about then others will follow.
I think this is such a brilliant movie and the bedroom scene is not to be missed.
It was filmed mostly around the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. This is such a stunning mansion, a beautiful setting for a movie.