- Mike Nichols
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Saturday, September 22, 2001
During his welcome party, in which Ben seems to be and is in the fact the only person out of place, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the only adult in the scene with more than one dimension, asks Ben for a ride home and then offers him an affair completely free of worries. Thus begins an odyssey in the life of Ben, whose perspectives completely change as he suddenly joins a world of changing emotions and games of pleasure usually prohibited. Sex with Mrs. Robinson might be his only way to escape a world of adults who always expect something of him different from what he wants.
Right when Ben thinks that he’s found one meaning for his life and one thing to look forward to, Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross), Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, appears into the scene. Now the subject of his forbidden and secret activity is the cause of another prohibition, which is even more tempting. Could that be the reason why Ben is willing to give everything up for this young woman?
The Graduate is the classic 1967 adaptation of Charles Webb’s novel about the alienation of young people in a world of expectations that “must” be fulfilled. Benjamin Braddock embodies the legion of youngsters who manage to succeed in their own world but find themselves lost in the “real” world, while maintaining their own intelligence, integrity and freedom of will. Mrs. Robinson is prohibition, a contrast to all other adults (who are portrayed here mostly as caricatures) who go by the book, and an irresistible escape for young Ben. And Elaine is love: that stupid, senseless feeling that no young lad can resist; that impulse that is preferable to a solid present and a clear future.
While perfectly capturing the feeling of the late 60s, this seriocomic film achieves to understand and translate the interiors of a young man’s mind. Mike Nichols perfectly directs a simple story with great background, using inventive camerawork with deep, poignant results. The song score by Simon and Garfunkel couldn’t be more helpful, expressing in words and music what this story is all about.
The three leads are great in the roles that could very well be their most memorable.
The final scene and especially the final shot are classics by themselves. This film is a must.
“Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... aren't you?”
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