Books and Movies Reviews

Being There


Choose a scene from the film version of Being There, which you feel was done especially well, so well that it portrayed exactly what the author wanted to express in that section of the novel. Explain in detail why you feel as you do, supporting your ideas with specific examples from both the novel and the film.

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In my opinion the scene in which Chance has the opportunity to meet the President most accurately resembles the relative part in the novella Being There. After the President emerges from the corridor to the main room, Rand warmly welcomes him to his residence and introduces him to Mr. Gardiner. At this point Gardiner's attitude closely mimics the description in the book; he "stares directly into the President's eyes."

Following the introduction Gardiner resumes his unique attitude and portrays to the audience the very exact character Jerzy Kosinski intends to build in his novella. For instance, Chance states that the President looks "taller on television." Despite the fact that this statement is made after the President's visit in the book, in both productions it reveals a lot about Chance's personality. We perceive that Chance is a character who lacks the knowledge of how to behave during a formal occasion. Although he is supposed to praise the Chief Executive as Mr. Rand does by remarking "How thoughtful of you to come all this way to look in on a dying man," Chance rather behaves naively by eagerly stating what he observes. He sees in the President "a man of medium height who entered the room smiling" and airs very comfortably his opinion regardless of its being appropriate or not.

As the President chats with Mr. Rand, Chance "understood almost nothing of what they were saying, even though they often looked in his direction, as if to invite his participation." Although we realize that Chance does not contribute…


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