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.

6 Answers 6


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.


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.

  • 1
    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, 2015 at 16:59

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.


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.


Throughout the movie Chance was talking in allegory, just as many of the great thinkers and religious figures have done. The insipid inbred elite as well as the media, I repeat myself, continued to project on to Chance what they wanted to believe. It started to dawn on me that this was a clever satire on the nature of the relationship of man with God. When you look around the world you see God is an image of the particular culture in question. It raises the question, is God merely a projection? When I saw Chance walking on water in the end it validated, to me anyway, that my analysis was correct. Chance was God, at least from the perspective of the writer who had a less then favorable opinion of God. As repugnant an idea as it was, it certainly revealed a perspective of the human condition that was original and engaging.


I think the ending is self explanatory. The eulogy taking place in the background at that time in the movie states: Life is a state of mind...which is what Chancy believes as he walks on water. He is not limited by conventional thinking so he believes and can do. Nothing more complicated than that.

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