The movie’s implications are alarming. Is it possible that we are all just clever versions of Chance the gardener? That we are trained from an early age to respond automatically to given words and concepts? That we never really think out much of anything for ourselves, but are content to repeat what works for others in the same situation?
The last words in the movie are, “Life is a state of mind.” So no computer will ever be alive. But to the degree that we are limited by our programming, neither will we. The question is not whether a computer will ever think like a human, but whether we choose to free ourselves from thinking like computers.
They don’t make ‘em like Being There anymore… unlike so many movies now, this one really breathes. This is my ideal type of comedy / satire: strange, thoughtful, and a little uncomfortable. And in Hal Ashby’s hands it is relaxed, but it’s never ponderous. I cringe at the thought of what most directors would do with this one had it been released in 2009 instead of 1979.