I just watched "The Graduate" for the first time and have a few questions(SPOILER AlERT)
First of all, do you think that Mrs. Robinson was hurt by Benjamin because she fell in love with him or was it merely a question of a bruised ego when their affair ended?
Did you find Benjamin's and Elaine's courtship believable? They seemed to have gone on one date, Elaine found out about Ben and her mother before their second date began, and then they end up getting together at the end.
The theme of water was very interesting. I have my own ideas about its symbolic value within the context of the film, but what do you think?
The Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack was beautiful.
But, overall, I found the movie a bit over-rated.
Soundtrack/10 Movie/5 Hoffman/3
Benjamin was drowning in his fish tank display as metaphor for an oppressive society!!
[quote]Did you find Benjamin's and Elaine's courtship believable? They seemed to have gone on one date, Elaine found out about Ben and her mother before their second date began, and then they end up getting together at the end.
They didn't end up together as much as they latch on to each other because they both wanted to flee the lives their parents had planned for them. You can tell they didn't know what to do with each other in the end.
I think Mrs. Robinson latched on to Ben for the same reason: to flee her stagnant life, at least for a few hours per week.
Mrs. Robinson was an alcoholic, hell bent on self-destruction and oblivious to the feelings of people around her.
Mrs. Robinson was a narcissist. She felt betrayed by Ben and saw her daughter as a rival to be conquered, not loved.
Hasn't dated too well. Bancroft is really good-looking and the "age difference" isn't all that much.
OP, Thank you for your post. I never understood this movie, although loved the soundtrack. Benjamin appears to be a total loser, nerd, nebbish, etc., who would never land the beautiful Katherine Ross anywhere but a Hollywood fantasy.
Oh, honey, it was the sixties. I would fuck Hoffman in The Graduate in a heartbeat.
Overrated? Come on. THE GRADUATE is beautifully acted and brilliantly directed. It may be a capsule of its time, but that doesn't make it "dated." I would be hard-pressed to come up with a single movie from the last decade that approaches its greatness.
R5, Don't you think the mother wanted her daughter "to marry up" and not make the same mistakes that she did?
Written from a deluded and egotistical man's point of view. No way either woman would have thrown themselves at ugly Benjamin. He's short, has a big nose, and looks like a dweeb.
There were too many good-looking men who could have played this part better.
I agree that the direction and cinematography are beautiful. Hell, merely the still photo of Benjamin at the hotel bedroom door with Mrs. Robinson's raised knee in stockings is one of the most iconic images in film, IMHO. But, that image is only the tip of the iceberg.
I just didn't really find the characters to be very three-dimensional.
However, when Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson enters Benjamin's Alfa Romeo, coming in out of the heavy rain completely drenched, she is ironically at her most beautiful; her drenched hair and smudged make-up give a fleeting impression of vulnerability beneath her hitherto cold exterior. She evokes the rawness and realness of a woman in a Fellini film.
That was the only moment when I was really impressed with a character in the film.
The first time I watched it was with 2 friends in HS in the 80 while very stoned and we could not stop laughing. It was so bizarre and had so many cringeworthy (in a funny way) moments like the toothbrush scene we kept looking at each other in a wtf is happening with this weirdness?? It was a perfect way to see it.
I remember reading that the producers or maybe the director thought the way Hoffman went with his out there performance, almost like he was playing a a person with Aspergers, was ruining the movie. If he had played it straight it would have been a totally different film.
In the end, i think it was supposed to represent how America was unsettled in those days. People wanted more out of life, but didn't know how to go about getting more than conventional marriage, children and plastics.
In a way, the 60 s and early 70s were the end of a genuinely idealistic America. People were questioning societal roles, the effect of big business and war on our culture and on our morals.
Then came Reagan and America embraced war, big business, spoiling the environment, success equaling monetary wealth and going back to traditional roles.
The movie sucks and is overrated
Still can't help wondering about the original concept: a sex comedy starring Robert Redford as Ben and Doris Day as Mrs. R.
I shit you not.
Did anyone see Kathleen Turner in the play?
[quote]The movie sucks and is overrated
That's your stupid opinion. Now, kindly go watch your Transformers with your Playstation fans.
A lot of films and books suffer from their "classic" status. The Graduate is really one of the quieter films in the AFI 100, let alone the top ten. Next to all the movies about wars and historical figures real and fictionalized, a character-driven comedy-drama about a callow upper-middle class youth is going to look puny.
I think it's a lovely film. But I also think it would be easier to appreciate today if its reputation were "underrated gem" rather than "top ten greatest of all time."
Well said, R25. A lot of the generational conflicts, Benjamin's search for "identity", and the tension between sexual repression and liberated bliss in the film are lost on current viewers.
Well said, r 25 and 26. And now, my son Benjamin will perform amazing feats at the bottom of my pool, in his amazing breathing apparatus.
What r20 said -- in a retrospect, Time magazine announced, "Plastics won."
[quote]Mrs. Robinson, do you think we could say a few words to each other first this time?
[quote]Mrs. Robinson: I don't think we have much to say to each other.
Thanks, R25. Extremely well-spoken. I really appreciate your input.
As every seasoned DLer knows, the correct format for the title of this thread should have been: "I just watched 'The Graduate' and I have more questions than answers! (SPOILER ALERT)"
OP is a newbie.
OK, R31, point taken. Not a newbie, however.
Move it along, toots.
OP, a member for five years, although lacking in eloquence on this Oscar Sunday
Katherine is entirely out of Benjamin's league, so frankly it's hard to swallow. I agree that it is a male fantasy that ends up "safe" at the end, but it real life women do the choosing.
My biggest problem with the film is how ridiculous Anne Bancroft's facial expession is at the end when she's furious with Benjamin for spoiling the wedding and urging Katherine Ross not to leave with him. Of course the character would be incredibly angry and upset, but even so it's too much: she looks at her daughter with such over-the-top foaming-at-the-mouth frenzy it looks like she's having a fit of rabies.
Mike Nichols justified casting Hoffman by saying Benjamin was "Jewish on the inside."
I love The Graduate--it's one of my favorite films. I would love to have seen Anne Bancroft win the Oscar for her iconic role.
I recently saw "The Heartbreak Kid" which in some ways mirrors the plot and themes of "The Graduate" and was directed by Elaine May (Nichols' comedy partner). I have to say it's actually much better than "The Graduate and the satire is much sharper even though it is not as well known today.
The ending of "The Heartbreak Kid" is much more nuanced- I always felt the ending of "The Graduate was kind of a sellout even though Mike Nichols says the ending with Ben and Elaine escaping on the bus is supposed to be ironic.
r37, you are brilliant for bringing up The Heartbreak Kid in comparison to The Graduate. They would make the perfect double feature!
I love both movies but THK really is superior. I wonder if it would have been more acclaimed had it opened first?
If you look carefully you will note that Anne Bancroft's costumes in the film all have at least a touch of wild animal prints in them: leopard spots, tiger stripes, snakeskin, etc., even her lingerie.
The costumes were designed by Tony Award-winning Broadway Costume Designer Patricia (Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Pippin) Zipprodt in one of her rare forays into film. She had been designing plays for Mike Nichols in NY, including a revival of The Little Foxes starring Anne Bancroft, and he asked her to design the film.
When I saw it for the first time in the late 70s (I was in college) I, of course, sympathized with Benjamin and thought Mrs. Robinson a monster. As time marches on, I find myself more in sympathy with Mrs. Robinson. Everyone around her seemed so boring, tacky, and cringe-worthy. Why not have a little fun and cause some mischief while you're at it?
I don't think the film has aged well (Nichols did not deserve the directing award--if anyone from the nominees I would have said Arthur Penn, even though I don't love "Bonnie and Clyde" or Norman Jewison--Nichols started out well with "Virginia Woolf," but the incredible writing and extraordinary acting, yes, even by Taylor, who was at her best--carried him). In TG, it feels like someone has just given him a camera for the first time. But nothing has aged about Bancroft's performance--one of her last really great ones before she started down the Great Lady path.
I don't know, I think Nichols deserved the Oscar just for the genius of casting Hoffman and then photographing him and that impossible honker so he looked so adorably sexy.
I'd love to see Dana Delany as Mrs Robinson.
Me, too, r19.
Except I was a freshman in college in NorCal and saw it in a big lecture hall where joints were lit up the minute the lights went out. It seemed so campy.
The cocktail party in Tarzana perfectly captured LA WASPY suburbia in the 60's.
When Ben drove his sports car towards UC Berkeley on the freaking UPPER DECK of the Bay Bridge, the whole audience yelled "WRONG WAY!". The had to have shut down the entire Bridge. Always wondered how the filmakers pulled that off.
That was 32 years ago. Think I'll spark up a few bowls and watch it again tonight.
They didn't shut down the bridge, R43. They just showed him driving toward San Francisco and then edited it so he arrived in Berkeley instead. There are also scenes where he runs across the USC campus and arrives somewhere in Berkeley, or vice versa. I think just about anything that's filmed on location is going to have those kinds of inconsistencies for the people who know the place well.
One of my favourite movies, love, love, the soundtrack.
On my deathbed, my one wish would be to watch this movie as I go away.
The movie is brilliant - the editing, how the music was integrated, the cinematography, the performances. It's called 'irony' . Anyone watching the film, who doesn't get it, is either not intellectual enough, or loves any Judd Apatow movie. It's deep, and makes statements on so many issues - age, wealth, hypocracy, isolation, etc.
Watch the amazing moment when Ben is standing in the kitchen, tells his father he's going to marry Elaine Robinson, his mother walks in and asks 'Whats going on ?' When she's told , she let's out a wailing howl - it's one of my most favorite reactions of all time.
OP, you are such a sad little dolt.
"Water" is not a theme. Please look up "theme" in a dictionary.
Also, if you think this type of comedy requires a believable set-up for the courtship between a lost soul and a secure young woman, you have greater problems than lack of vocabulary and knowledge of film conventions.
Finally, nothing in the film ever led to a reasonable inference that Mrs. Robinson was in love. Her upset involved loss of face and social embarrassment.
Are you sure you didn't read the Cliff Notes?
The character of Benjamin Braddock was supposed to be a blonde, handsome young man; think a young Robert Redford, maybe. Dustin Hoffman's performance was great even though he was the opposite of that type.
It was kind of ridiculous; here was this guy, around thirty years of age, playing a college graduate. He had distinctly unprepossessing semitic features but his parents look like white-bread WASPs. And Mrs. Robinson, a hot older woman, lusts after him! I figured that it was a measure of how mentally disturbed Mrs. Robinson was that she would want to fuck him.
I don't understand Elaine's attraction to him, either. He's not that attractive and he takes her to a strip joint on their first date! Appalled, she runs off, but he stops and gives a tender kiss and before you know it they're falling in love. I could understand that if he were good-looking but what is it about the homely Ben that reels in Elaine? He doesn't have much of an appealing personality, either. But then women in the movies are always falling in love with much older or unattractive guys.
I like the movie, anyway. It's fun to watch and Ann Bancroft was brilliant as Mrs. Robinson.
All this crappy nonsense about Ben being not attractive enough. It was a comedy! It was part of the ridiculousness of the whole thing, Mrs Robertson saying 'I find you very attractive' is FUNNY.
To go on and on about Ben's attractiveness proves you're not getting it at all.
I think the people who don't get this film have no sense of humor. No one's TOLD them it's a comedy so they're confused.
How long before Ben and Elaine got sick of each other?
One of my all-time favorite films. To me, it gets better with every viewing.
When THE GRADUATE was released, the expectation that Benjamin would be played by one of ten or twelve young actors who could as easily have been models had yet to exist.
The reason that movie had such an effect at the time can be reduced to one word:
That's what Walter Brooke tells Dustin Hoffman at the Welcome Back Ben party at the beginning of the film, and if you'd been the right age in 1967 or even well into the '70s, you'd've thought that line totally encapsulated the fakeness of suburbia and the emptiness of consumerism and blah blah blah - those were reasonably new topics in the '60s and '70s, and the whole world economy was just turning from its industrial-era base to its information-economy base, and it was still new and funny to make fun of the soulessness of consumerism, which was represented by the very word, "plastic."
We have long since given up caring that our consumer economy was going to ruin us, which it has.
THE GRADUATE is about a certain generation of people discovering that hypocrisy exists, and if you want to understand its attitudes in context, you should read Paul Goodman's GROWING UP ABSURD.
That said, I think it's about how much Mike Nichols wanted to be fucked by a guy, and how afraid he was to admit it.
R46 You have it exactly right - love your line about Apatow. You either get this movie, or not.