The Graduate (1967) – Top 100 of All Time
I didn’t quite expect such a strong showing. The Graduate is about a 20 year old Ben who recently graduated his college. His parents celebrate this by welcoming the son with open arms and inviting his “friends”. I put it in quotes because they’re all actually his parents’ friends and majority of them are over 20 years older than him which shows Ben’s dependency on his mother and father. To them he is still just a boy. He is a lone child that never got a chance to make his own decisions, every choice he dealt with was probably handled by his parents. It’s what makes Benjamin such an interesting character because both the viewer and the other characters know there’s something wrong with him, some even try to use his uncertainty against him.
The film has some very jarring camerawork, but it’s all done purposefully. To symbolize Ben’s life the director chose to do it by having him be trapped in a frame a lot of the times. Mike Nichols’ style is very fitting with the awkward nature of our main and that wouldn’t be possible without Hoffman’s portrayal. I mean he’s so awkward, I burst out laughing at one scene in particular. Another stand out role is Anne Bancroft who gets the first actor credit playing a woman who knows what she wants now, but never thinks well ahead of the future. It’s the seductive, manipulative nature like a Femme Fatale of some sorts.
The ending of all things takes the cake. You get a “Okay….what now?” feeling that’s captured perfectly with its actors. I recommend everyone to see it alone or with a girlfriend/boyfriend because it’s a very specific film that might get a conversation starting.