The Graduate (1967)

DailyView: Day 95, Movie 160

This morning’s DailyView heads back into the decade of the 1960s for the classic film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Mike Nichols.

Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) was a disillusioned graduate who wound up being seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). They continued their secret affair behind her husband’s (Murray Hamilton) back. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson were friends with Ben’s parents and both Mr. Robinson and Ben’s parents were pushing Ben to ask out the Robinsons’ daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross). Mrs. Robinson was completely opposed to it. When Ben took out Elaine to get his parents off his back, he fell for her, leading to a confrontation with all the parties.

Easily my favorite part of the film is the Simon and Garfunkel music that is played throughout The Graduate. The Sound of Silence, Scarborough Fair, and Mrs. Robinson were included and are great.

I have to say that I had a difficult time accepting the relationship between Ben and Elaine at the second part of the film. I can understand why he fell for her, but what possible reason would she have for falling for him after finding out about the affair he had had with her mother? It certainly did not feel as powerful of a connection as the film seemed to imply. Because of that, the second half of the film felt too forced for me.

Solid performance by Dustin Hoffman, but I did have trouble finding the support of the character, who seemed pretty selfish and self-absorbed. I have to say that, even with the big wedding escape at the end, Ben did not look to be happy. I have this feeling that he is destroying his life and he is taking Elaine with him.

Mrs. Robinson is an even worse character than Ben. Mrs. Robinson seduced a young college graduate, has an affair with him, threatened him to stay away from her daughter, accused him of rape when it all came out and tried to marry her daughter off to someone she did not love. She is anything but a sympathetic character.

Mike Nichols won an Academy Award for his direction of The Graduate and Hoffman, Bancroft and Ross were all nominated for acting awards. I would enjoy this more if you were watching it with the idea that all of the characters are rotten people and that we are seeing them all wind up unhappy.

I still loved the Simon & Garfunkel songs

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