The Graduate Film Critique

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The Graduate, a film based on the novel by Charles Webb, is directed by Mike Nichols, whose famous works also include Working Girl and Catch-22. The Graduate was released in United States on December 22, 1967. The screenplay for the film is done by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, and the cinematography by Robert Surtees. A few of the main cast members include Anne Bancroft (as Mrs. Robinson), Dustin Hoffman (as Benjamin Braddock), Katharine Ross (as Elaine Robinson), William Daniels (as Mr. Braddock), Murray Hamilton (as Mr. Robinson), and Elizabeth Wilson (as Mrs. Braddock).

The Graduate is a story about Benjamin Braddock, a twenty-one year old graduate student trying to find his way in life. While debating what to do with his future, Benjamin is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, who just happens to be the wife of Mr. Braddock’s business partner. Bored and naive, Benjamin starts an affair with Mrs. Robinson, unaware that he would later fall deeply in love with her daughter, Elaine.

The Graduate has many great moments when it comes to the cinematography of the film. The focus of the camera solely on Benjamin’s face in the beginning of the film is a key factor in letting the viewer see his apprehensive emotions both toward the people at his parent’s party as well as his own future. There are a variety of shots throughout the film having to do with water and glass, which symbolize Benjamin’s feelings of “suffocation” by his parents and isolation from the superficial society he was born into and surrounded by. For example, the scene where Benjamin is in his diving suit communicates the anxiety and confinement he may be feeling in regards of his future by letting the viewer experience things from the character’s perspective while he is inside of the suit. Also, the fish tank scene in Benjamin’s room, where he is staring at his fish right before Mrs. Robinson walks in, very clearly labels Benjamin as “a fish out of water”, and confirms his character as...
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