The Graduate - Analysis and Review

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The Graduate came out in 1967 and had immediate success in the box office. Critics and audiences praised Mike Nichols’ work, earning him an Oscar. The movie also helped skyrocket Dustin Hoffman’s Hollywood road to fame, as well as sparked new life to Anne Bancroft’s. Few would doubt that this coming of age tale could be considered a ‘great movie’. It’s an American classic and one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Part of what makes this movie so great is, first of all, the acting. It’s needless to say that bad acting takes away from a film whilst good acting only makes it better, and this film is no different. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Ben and his transition from the unopposed, awkward, college graduate to the rather bored and confident man who was sleeping with a woman old enough to be his mother, was absolutely magnificent. Ben goes through many changes throughout the movie, first from losing his innocence to losing meaning and then to finding new meaning when he goes out with Elaine. Anne Bancroft also did a fantastic job with letting us into Mrs. Robinson’s mind. I believe the theme of the movie is about finding meaning in your life. Ben, who just graduated college, doesn’t really know what he wants to do from there on out. He falls into this affair with Mrs. Robinson and it becomes something like a routine. There is that montage of Ben watching TV, laying in the pool, lying in bed with Mrs. Robinson, and I think the show conveys a lot of things. First, the passage of time. Time is going by so quickly that all of these happenings seem to be going on in one continuous go. Also, it conveys Ben’s boredom. He’s bored with his life, so he does these meaningless things out of pure monotony. He’s putting his future on the backburner, keeping himself occupied so he wouldn’t have to think about. Then, he goes out with Elaine. At first, he tries only to please Mrs. Robinson and attempts to give Elaine the worst date so she’d never want to go out with him again....
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