Being There: The Book Vs. The Movie
Being There by Jerzy Kosinksi is a unique novel about a man named Chauncey Gardiner, also known as Chance, who is forced to move out of the only environment he’s ever known in his life, the “Old Man’s” house. The book was successful enough to have a screenplay for the movie written by the author as well. Since Chance is very mentally slow, his perception of the world outside his house is unlike any other. When he comes into contact with other people, they find him brilliant and charming, although he isn’t trying to be. One word to describe Chauncey Gardiner is natural. Chance puts no effort into deceiving anyone or impressing anyone and for that, his personality makes him socially successful. Between the book and the film, the book better portrays Chance’s feelings and thoughts while the movie only portrays his actions, therefore the novel gives the reader a deeper insight into the mind of Chauncey Gardiner while the movie gets up close and personal in his life and daily activities.
To begin with, the movie is set in Washington D.C. The “Old Man,” whom Kosinski doesn’t go into detail about, is the wealthy owner of the house Chance grew up in. Louise is the maid that takes care of Chance. The movie does not offer much background information on Chance, viewers are led to assume that he hasn’t had much of a childhood or life in general because he says he can’t read or write and his life revolves around television. Chance is taken into the Rand’s mansion when his leg is injured by one of their cars. When Eve mistakes his introduction as Chance the gardener for Chauncey Gardiner he just accepts it. Many of the scenes in the movie are directly pulled from the book. When the book describes that Chance can change himself by changing the channels on a television it is portrayed exactly like that in the movie. When Chance is in the office with Ben’s secretary and is on the phone while simultaneously mimicking the exercise instructor...
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