Being There

Movies, Comedy
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Being There

Sellers's performance—as the innocent neuter figure who rises accidentally to political power on the strength of vacant homilies—is remarkable. But Ashby's direction is marred by the same softness that made The Last Detail and Coming Home so morally bland. What emerges in the end is a strange ambiguity of attitude to the American political system and a hollow humour about cultural values. The cinema of cynicism, really.

Release details

Rated: PG
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Hal Ashby
Screenwriter: Jerzy Kosinki
Cast: Shirley MacLaine
Peter Sellers
Melvyn Douglas
Richard Dysart
Richard Basehart
Jack Warden

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
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  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Staff Writer

When I rule the world, and own a quiet hotel in a noisy city with basement bar, there is one film to play silently on a loop in the far corner... (just where the butlers, gardeners and chaffeurs escape to on their days off.) There is no doubting Peter Sellars' genius in the dozens of comedies he lit up - but this performance is so subtle, so ...quiet.

My heart aches from the first time he is told he must leave the house he has lived since a child (we presume) and he effortlessly paints a picture of a man with difficulties understanding his world without an ounce of overstatement. A fantastic film, with amazing supporting roles - it is difficult to tell whether Shirley MacLaine is following the script or just following Sellars as he morphs into his role.