Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the meaning of the final scene of Being There, where Chance walks on the pond's surface?

The film's Wikipedia page says something about a metaphor of Chance being seen as a messiah, but I don't find that too convincing.

share|improve this question

The metaphor is pretty strong: he literally walks on water.

It means he is tremendously blessed, always ending up on the right side of whatever situation he falls into. In a very short time (less than a week?) he goes from homeless pauper to national celebrity and presidential adviser. Lucky in love and whatever he wants to do. All without (apparently) a clue about how life really works. All he knows is the superficial—which he has apparently studied intently via watching television.

share|improve this answer

The meaning of the last scene seems to infer that because Chance is wholly unaware of his limitations he is essentially limitless: unbound by them.

share|improve this answer
I take it you mean imply not infer. But the metaphor of Chance's absolute innocence is more convincing than that of a Messiah. – Chenmunka Dec 4 '15 at 16:59

I have never felt that Chance walked on water, even though the movie teases that possibility. What we see is Chance walk out on to a pond unfazed, sort of bemusedly looking around, and then dipping his umbrella in the water to see how deep it is (quite deep indeed).

But consider: All of what Chauncey is is what others perceive him to be. By contrast, Chance, the simple gardener, before he's been grabbed by the political machine, is only what he is.

So, I've always thought that the point of showing him "walk on water" was to give the audience a chance to fill in their own mystical interpretation. A tweak on the audience's nose by Hal Ashby and Jerry Kosinski. And a tongue-in-cheek reference to the similarities between Chance and Jesus, the latter also being given answering questions by saying "consider the lilies" and what-not.

Kosinski also wrote the book, and it is of no help: The scene does not appear, and Kosinski closes the book by saying Chance has no thoughts to trouble him.

share|improve this answer

Chance is so pure and void of base thoughts he is elevated to a "higher" state of being than the rest of us. The mystery of how the physical act of walking on water is achieved leaves us in awe. It shows us that maybe what is most important in life is not material goods or challenges met, but living in the moment completely.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.