Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Graduate

The Graduate represents a triumph of film directing, a generation defining revolutionary film, and what many won't recognize as a misinformed or convoluted story. We all laugh as the naive recent college grad Benjamin Braddock fumbles his way through an affair with the manipulative, controlling, and sexy Mrs. Robinson, and then cheer for him as he tries to woo her daughter Elaine. Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft are superb in their roles throughout and Mike Nichols commands his camera like no other person ever has (I'm serious, this is one of the most sure-handedly directed films ever). The dialogue is spot on and the comedy still works, not too mention the great Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack. It's just a matter of story when it comes to Katharine Ross's Elaine. What does Benjamin see in her? Is it the fact that Mrs. Robinson forbids them seeing each other? Well it can't just be just that thrill that gets him entirely out of his aimless funk. I mean, they go on one date, she doesn't say a word and begins to cry because he acted like a jerk. Then she runs away, and he follows her in what can only be described in today's terms as stalking. Then you know the rest, but by the end this is a couple who don't know each other from anything and may or may not be right for each other. Look at the picture above and wonder if they aren't thinking the same thing. Or maybe that's the point.