Movie Score: 5 out of 5 (Classic)
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross
Director: Mike Nichols
‘I feel like I am living in a world where the rules were written by other people’. The Graduate is not a simple tale of 1960’s rebellion against the norms, but the ageless tale of how any young person feels about the world, including myself.
Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, The Graduate remains a classic film whose tale of youthful existential angst still resonates with my generation as strongly as it did with the Baby Boomers in 1967.
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) returns home to suburban Los Angeles after graduating from University. The ‘real’ world of maturity is incredibly alien for Ben, his frustration and isolation are ignored by adults around him, who treat Ben as a simple object. Ben’s parents, throw him a graduation party where he is a status symbol for their ambitions. Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), his lover, treats Ben as a distraction from her broken marriage and an escape from aging. It is only when Ben meets Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross), another young person who is cut off from the decadent world of their parents, that Ben feels connected to another.
Ironically for a film shown as part of The Dustin Hoffman season at the BFI Southbank, it is the camera who is the star. Both the film’s visual style and soundtrack, written by Simon & Garfunkel, convey the emotions Ben cannot convey to the outside world. The Graduate’s tale is revealed through the camera whose inventiveness in editing and composition shames most modern films.
The Graduate is both provocative and hilarious. Hoffman’s slight use of slapstick adds a bumbling charm to Ben and the other acting cast deliver some great comedic moments. Luckily, The Graduate is out in many art house cinemas in the U.K. to celebrate the film’s 50th birthday, and should definitely be seen on the big screen. Having tried to watch The Graduate before on a laptop, the introduction, seen on a smaller screen, will deter many as its visual richness cannot be appreciated.
By Saul Shimmin
For the trailer, see below: