The Graduate (1967)
"The Graduate" is not a comedy...sure there are funny parts; but to say that the whole movie with its dark, dramatic twists and turns is a farce is—well—a farce.
It's hardly necessary to state the effect that "The Graduate" had when it was released simply for its controversial subject matter—a young man having an affair with a married woman twice his age. Come to think of it, it's still not that great of a subject.
But Mike Nichols (who won an Oscar for directing) decided to use his talents with this film and it has since been a revered classic work.
Ben is a recent college graduate who is returning home and a bit shell-shocked from the experience. He's more introverted and would rather stay in his room than brave the throngs of people waiting to congratulate him and give him advice on his future. After much nagging and persuading, his parents force him to mingle with the people of his come home party. Among them is Mrs. Robinson, a confident woman who rarely has to say 'please'. She asks Ben to take her home and he does and that's when things really start to heat up.
"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me." This is the famous line from the movie and it's quite a line. The uncomfortable level of the scene rises to an almost unbearable height before it's over.
The one thing that the first part of the movie has going for it is its leading lady. Anne Bancroft is ridiculously good as Mrs. Robinson and has all the colors and shades of the character that she needs to be. Her co-star, Dustin Hoffman is less so. It's not that he's bad in this role; it's just that I really don't need to watch a movie about a nerdy, clumsy, awkward person—I have enough of that going on, thank you very much.
What the movie really lacks is believability (SPOILERS!). After the affair is over, Ben falls in love with Elaine Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson's daughter......oh yeah, it's that bad.
Mrs. Robinson starts to go kind of nuts, somewhat like Alex Forrest in "Fatal Attraction", but with less bunny-killing. She threatens to divulge the secret but Ben beats her to it, he really likes Elaine.
You'd think that once the revelation was out there would be immediate ostracizing; but there's not. I guess sleeping with your love interest's mother is okay now.
The movie is scored by Simon and Garfunkel songs that, while catchy, sometimes don't fit the mood.
As I said before, this is not a comedy. "The Graduate" is supposed to be one of the best comedy works and a great drama as well...it is not. AFI has "The Graduate" as #7 on their list of classics and I start to realize how much I really disagree with their list.
If you want to spend a hour and forty-five minutes watching drama that you couldn't care less about—go right ahead because that's what happened to me.
It has its funny moments but the unbelievability of the dialogue, the story, and the characters are what crashed this movie into bits for me.
Score: 2 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones