The Graduate

1967 romantic comedy

Rating: 17/20

Plot: 20 year old Benjamin graduates from college and faces malaise and uncertainty. He naively and reluctantly enters an adult relationship with Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's business partner and friend of the family. Lots of off-screen coitus occurs until, after his father forces him to go on a date with her, he falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's daughter.

Cute talent with the female leads, both seeming perfect for the roles, especially Anne Bancroft who walks a thin line between sexy and dangerous. Hoffman, in his first big role, doesn't seem great at all for the first 1/4 of the movie, but his character grows on you. This was such a tight script, often self-referential, and stuffed with classic lines. Very well written. It's the smart man kind of funny. A lot of the shots and film tricks are dated, and during one ten minute span, "Scarborough Fair" could be heard 3 1/2 times. ("Sound of Silence" was in the movie at three different times, I believe. I did like the Simon and Garfunkel music, however.) The realism of the first half of the film shifts to the overly fantastic in the second half while Benjamin attempts to hook up with the daughter, but there's some nifty parallelism going on between those two halves. And I especially liked the ending. It's an ending that is about as perfect as an ending could be.

Note: Bonus points given for a hilarious use of a midget and for the casting of Norman Fell, Three's Company's Mr. Roper. Interestingly enough, he was also a landlord in this.


cory said...

16. You gave "The Graduate" a 16. "The Graduate"? A 16 is like an 8 out of 10. It's a B or B+, according to you. Hmmm. Not even worth an A or A-, huh?

Shane said "leads perfect for their roles". The film catapulted Dustin Hoffman from being a nobody (who roomed with Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall, by the way) to a superstar, turning him into, well, freakin' Dustin Hoffman. Katherine Ross became a star, and every other main actor is terrific, even including a very grumpy Norman Fell.

Shane said "stuffed with classic lines". "Plastics" became a symbolic word for a generation. "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me" is one of the most famous lines in movie history. This classic film is certainly "stuffed" with classic lines.

Shane said "ending that is about as perfect as an ending could be". Exactly. After Benjamin has achieved his goal, what then? All the ambiguity in the world is achieved with two fading smiles and "The Sounds of Silence".

Dated? It is more than forty years old, but I think it has held up as well as any movie from the 60's. Pop music? This is my favorite soundtrack of all-time because the film and the zmusic of Simon and Garfunkel go perfectly together in reflecting the moods and action of the film.

Simply put, this is one of the greatest films of all-time (in what I promise will be the only time I will EVER reference outside experts, The American Film Institute has this no.7, which means six are better and about a million are worse).

"The Graduate" was a touchstone for a generation that was torn by restlessness, rebellion and the generation gap. More than that, it is still a hilarious comedy that turns into something much deeper. Your review seemed to reflect some of that but then you gave it a 16! I respectfully ask that you correct your typo or I will be forced to comment in any other review that gets 17+ that it must be "greater than 'The Graduate'!". A 20.

Shane said...

So, I'm a little unclear...did you agree with the rating I gave this or not?

I'll bump this up to a 17, but that's it. I think that I may have forgotten to give this the midget bonus anyway. I do think the film is dated.

It should be pointed out that this was the first time I'd ever seen this movie. I was only 34 at the time, and it may have been a little too adult for me. It's also entirely possible that I'm missing some cultural context. A "touchstone for a generation"? Hmm. I bet it's a movie I'd like better if I saw it again, and my ratings are always flexible. I allow my ratings to breathe, and my rule is that I'll never give anything a 20 the first time I see it. Maybe this one would grow. There's no shame in being a 16/17 although AFI might disagree with me. I don't think I've ever met anybody from the Institute that I liked though.

cory said...

I wonder what breathing ratings look like. I respect your playing hard to get- or give a 20- on your first date with a movie, so maybe you'll watch it again some time... like next week? I saw this for the first time about 27 years ago and have probably seen it 20 times since. It has always been in or near my top ten and I do not believe I'm the least bit mature- my wife can confirm that.

I would guess anyone from AFI might not like us either.