By: Reel 127 (A Toast) –
For those of you who don’t know, The Graduate is the story of Ben (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate who is trying to figure out what to do with his life. When he comes back home he begins to have an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), a married woman who is close friends with his parents. Ben becomes more rebellious and even falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Katherine Ross).
The Graduate has solidified itself as one of the best movies ever. Look at any list of the best movies and The Graduate is sure to come up at some point. It has become such a part of the mainstream that even if you haven’t watched it you have seen a reference to it. From the lines “Plastics” and “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” to the iconic wedding scene and one of Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest songs being made for this movie, it is hard not to come across The Graduate in some form these days.
That’s right. FX tricked you into watching classic cinema…
In a show where clones of Hitler are a plot point.
Where to start with this movie? I guess Dustin Hoffman; this was his first starring role and man does he make a great first impression. He perfectly portrays the character of Benjamin Braddock. Hoffman is able to show the arc of the character who goes from isolation and being awkward to more confident in his actions and thinking for himself. He embodies the worries of most recent college graduates- trying to figure out where they are going in life, but also wanting to think for themselves, not having parents force them into what they think is best for them.
I doubt anyone ever saw him as a “hunk.”
Something I did not notice until this recent re-watch was how long the takes for the scenes were. For the majority of the film, long shots are used which helps give a deeper feeling of immersion because there aren’t frequent cuts to distract the viewer. Thanks to the combined efforts of the editor and cinematographer The Graduate manages to pull off this style. Apart from Dustin Hoffman I would say Anne Bancroft was the other standout performance of this film. She is able to capture the character of Mrs. Robinson just right. A woman who is longing for more in life but does not want her daughter to have the same terrible life. Even though halfway through the movie she becomes very unlikable for trying to keep Ben and Elaine apart, the film sets it up in a way that you can sympathize with her actions.
The Graduate holds a rightful and special place in film history. Through the brilliant direction of Mike Nichols we get a film that is the best coming-of-age story ever put on screen. This is one of the films out there that you cannot go through life without seeing. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know what a true movie looks like.
The Graduate (1967) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever a Simon & Garfunkel Song starts playing
Take a Drink: every time Ben becomes uncomfortable with Mrs. Robinson
Take a Drink: every time someone lies to Katherine
Finish Your Drink: when you reach the iconic wedding ending