Friday, February 22, 2013

Movie Review - The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate is a benchmark in American cinema, not for the subject matter but for the approach and execution.  Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is a fresh graduate from college who returns back home to his parents, unsure about what comes next.  Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroff), an old family friend, coerces Ben to take her home during his graduation party which inevitably leads to an affair.  The situation becomes more complicated when Elaine (Katherine Ross), Mrs. Robinson's daughter, begins to date Ben.

Similar plots have been done to death in recent years.  There are a number of mainstream movies that attempt to pass off sexual fantasy as reality such as Porky's, Risky Business, American Pie, The Girl Next Door, and many others.  What sets The Graduate apart is the amount of uncertainty in the main character.  Most of these comedies about young guys trying to get laid involve some sort of revelation afterwards.  Usually the character ends up believing in himself more, or develops a stronger identity.  Ben on the other hand isn't sure about anything before, during, or after the film has concluded.  This consistent tone expresses a much more real approach to the doubt we carry about the consequences of our actions.

Ben's situation of doubt within himself, his future, and decisions are still very poignant to this generation.  Many people make it out of college without a clear vision of what they want to do with their lives.  Most don't want to turn out like the elder adults around them.  Knowing what you want and looking forward to a predictably bright future after graduating is becoming much more rare these days.

The Graduate is currently available for stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Runtime: 106 min.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity, mild language, and some smoking


Post a Comment