Hal Ashby, 1979
Everything that you see here is exactly what it means. Our protagonist, Chance the Gardiner/ Chauncey Gardiner is a collection of TV Bites and observed, removed experience. “Yes”, “I understand” are his buzz words that mean nothing but to move things along. Not out of frustration because there is none of that in his character but because forward movement is all he understands, like the flipping of the channels. All he truly understands is gardening and his true only literal knowledge is taken as metaphor by those around him. This movie can be saying so many things. It’s political satire. Chauncey, again, speaks only in the most general of terms and uses on buzz words of conversation and manner to get by. Sounds like a politician. The two sexual subplots of the movie involve a lack of satisfaction connected by the fact that both those characters are frustrated and worried and therefore can’t give or receive. Everybody reacts to Chauncey until the end where we get our one peak into Chauncey having any emotions at all and that emotion is love.
You can take the movie as being about over-thinking or under-thinking and it works either way. It’s satire and comedy and drama but in the very end really, it’s a fantasy. You wait for two hours and 10 minutes for the other shoe to drop and for Chauncey to be exposed for what he is. And it never comes. Cause that’s not the point and it wouldn’t be right. For whatever it’s points its making this movie, this character have no guile or malice. What won me over about this movie, more than anything is that it’s wholeheartedly sweet.
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2010