Classics, Movies, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

#432: The Graduate

2 May 2011

This American film by Mike Nichols is as hot as the noontime weather. Starring Dennis Hoffman, Katharine Ross and Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, I have a couple of things to look forward to in watching this movie. The music was mostly provided by Simon and Garfunkel. Screenplay written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham. I’ve finally been able to find a copy of this upon a trip to Makati Cinema Square.

Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) just graduated from college and is about to return to his California suburb relatives who no nothing but party, play socialites, and be amused by what money can buy. All he ever seemed to want after graduation was to think about the inevitable future that one is naturally about to encounter post-grad.

However, upon his return home his family demands that he play his part as the successful young college grad that everybody expects him to be. This adds up to his confusion about the night. For the rest of the first ten to fifteen minutes of the film, we get confused as well about what to feel, along with Benjamin and the swirling aura of faces drenched in alcohol and fake laughter. In two weeks he gets to play this part up until he gets the chance to finally think and be left alone to himself..inside a scuba outfit which he demonstrates in a pool party his parents conducted for his 21st birthday. We’re brought along with his depression as he falls into the pool.

During the night of his arrival, one of his parent’s contemporaries Mrs. Robinson (Bancroft) seduces him. She admits to liking him and she asks that whenever Benjamin is either bored that he give her a call and they arrange to meet and sleep together. Benjamin is horrified at the idea but at the end of his two weeks staying at home pondering, he gives her a call and they meet at a hotel where mostly old people socialize.

After sometime, his parents insist that he date the young Elaine Robinson who seems to be his match, knowing that she studies in Berkeley and also has a bright future ahead. Upon realizing that this may cause a conflict in his affair with Mrs. Robinson, although he feels nothing towards Mrs. Robinson, he declines this offer but goes in it anyway and soon after falls in love with Elaine (Ross).

In the end, he proves his love to Elaine and to the rest of the Robinsons as he steals Elaine, who just got married to Chris (a blonde frat boy), from the altar and the two jumps into a bus with everyone in it staring back at them.

Now consider this being shown back in the 60s, this film (according to my dad) seems to be in its extremes, and has been an inspiration to numerous outrageous chick flicks today (the scene where Benjamin searches for the right church where his lady love is getting married into up to the part where he taps into the window of the church screaming “Elaine!!” has been imitated by Mike Meyers in Wayne’s World..). Its one of the best satirical comedies I’ve ever seen in which I can relate to along with my other high school classmates who’s just recently graduated. It exudes the late 60s era, and it inexplicably tells us something that not only are the events in it funny, but they’re mostly real.

Dennis Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock really well wherein he looks as awkward about the whole situation wherein it somehow makes us feel that we too should feel the same thing. Anne Bancroft plays Mrs. Robinson opposite of what I expected her to be. I thought she would be obviously seductive but the way she portrayed her character, in which it wasn’t obvious at first that the persona of her character would be interested in consciously lost Benjamin. She handled it very well and is an epitome of sexiness and convinced us as well that her shrewdness is inevitable.

Katharine Ross (whom I originally thought was Mrs. Robinson, my mistake.) played the doe-eyed Elaine Robinson with beauty and depth and was completely good at being the middleman and Braddock’s perfect resolution.

The Graduate is an inexplicably directed satire, written well into the depths of what we most often are tired to admit. What I could not stand though was the fact that I’ve heard Simon and Garfunkle’s ‘Scarborough Fair’ not only once but on numerous occasions inappropriate. But nonetheless, this film is so good that I would like to watch it again.


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