Though this was not the last released film, it was reportedly the last film Sellers did, which makes the ending even more appropo. And given the hardships the man endured in his personal life towards the end, it is somewhat poignant. Apparently it took Sellers nine years to make this picture happen, and fortunate for us he did!
The story is about a simple man, named Chance played by Sellers, who spends his entire life in servitude to a wealthy man as his gardener. He tends to the plants and the flowers with a Zen-like rapture, and this is all he knows other than his love for watching TV. But this all comes to a crashing end, when his employer dies, and Chance is unexpectedly turned out into the streets.
As he wanders the lonely harsh streets of Washington DC, still trying to comprehend what has happened to the world he knew, he ends up stumbling into great fortune in the form of a limousine, that unfortunaely hits him. Inside is the wife of a very influential man, Eve played by Shirley MacLeane.
Guilt ridden she takes him to her home, where he is introduced to her husband an advisor to the President and a wealthy corporation owner. Both Eve and her husband Ben mistake his nonsensical blatherings about horticulture for being Zen like proverbs of profound wisdom.
They become enthralled with him and Chance finds himself in the center of great power. Like a lamb lost in a wolves den. And yet in typical "Fortune Favors The Foolish" kind of way, Chance is uplifted above it all, in more ways than one, and placed in a position of power. ( Oblivious of course to the fact that he is even there in the first place!)
But again much like Forrest Gump, he spews out simple truths, so simple that they are revered in a morally bankrupt world of business and politics as sermons from a prophet. And yet you the audience see that he is merely talking about how he tends to his garden. But like Forrest said, "Stupid is as stupid does!" The people he meets become instantly enthralled with him and mistake him for something he is not, which is...someone who should be giving advice.
But he speaks with such assured earnestness, that they assume he is speaking in metaphors about life, and they in turn each conclude a different meaning to his words. And great hilarity ensues! Including a very controversial scene with Ms. MacLeane in the bedroom.
But all done in good fun. And though there is some lighthearted moments in this film that make you laugh, there are some incredibly tender moments in this story that make you think!
The ending will make you either laugh or cry or both! A must see!