This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Eric N.’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?
A young boy is trying to figure out what’s the next big step in life. Can you imagine a more frustrating thing? Me Neither. Actually been there done that. Well actually I’m still struggling. It’s becoming more and more complicated question in a world where you could be anything, but if you don’t know what you want, life is just gonna past by you. But I think I’m on the right track now… maybe… just like Ben.
But not at the beginning. The movie is very well constructed and planned all along its playing time. In the opening scene we can see as Ben is going from right to left to the screen while everybody move the opposite direction. In many cultures left to right (as in writing in the most parts of the world) means going forward, progress, the future. But Benjamin goes the other way as he is not making any progress just step backwards in life not making any sense just wandering around. He doesn’t know where he is heading just goes with the flow. We can see the evolvement of his character through the movie as at first he is the most insecure and unsure people you’ve ever seen, but by the end of the movie he gains self-confidence.
The cinematography of this movie was invisible yet outstanding. Those shots where you get to see a character through a gap while a person or object block the main part of the image, just to focus the viewers’ attention on the main thing. Brilliant. And it wasn’t overused (that’s pretty common in old movies if they found something that is unique or appealed to the right persons they used it over and over and over through a 2 hour film until it’s not boring but rather annoying (for me like the main theme in Le professionnel, don’t get me wrong I love that song but they just used toooo much)).
The actors were just meant to play these characters or vice versa. Dustin Hoffman managed to interpret Benjamin Braddock as I can imagine a disturbed purposeless youngster. His scenes with Anne Bancroft (Mrs. Robinson) were sexy, intimate and some kind of fear was in the air all the time like what they were doing was wrong. And Katharine Ross was great too providing the promising future for Ben in a twisted way.
Despite the story if we see it bluntly manages to keep its light tone, funny sometimes cheerful moments. A youngster having an affair with his fathers’ partners’ wife and then run away with her daughter on her wedding. Sounds more like a serious problem than a witty theme. Somehow the brilliant score indicates that this is more than just a boy’s tale. The acoustic melodies were in perfect sync with the movie in the whole time.
The ending… well I feel like I could write a whole review just about this ending. There is a point where Ben decides he grabs his future by the balls and go after what might mean his next big step in life. Elaine. So he destroys a wedding nearly hurt people and run away with Elaine with the hope this is it what he’s been looking for. We see the 180 degree turn in his life, attitude, and personality just within a couple of minutes. He chooses something. He chooses run away with Elaine, trade his certain life to this uncertainty mess. They take the bus and just sit there and process what just happened. They just sitting there with their inexpressive faces and we hear the same music as at the beginning but feels different now… and they are gone to the unknown. Despite their null faces you feel the happiness, and then a momentary smile from both of them… they don’t look at each other for long seconds, they're just happy ‘cause they know that the other is happy too. It feels like Ben is satisfied where his life is going now despite he doesn’t know it yet. The movie represents the generation gap perfectly as none of the older (adult) characters has their first name identified in the film, only the younger characters like Benjamin, Elaine and Carl do and as the parents pushing Ben in life despite knowing what he wants. While Benjamin is worried about his future and the extra pressure from their parents doesn’t help. So he chooses to run away.
This movie got me. More than I’d ever hoped it would. Now I feel like I need to sort out my life and concentrate on not wasting it. I really like movie where I can transfer something from into my life. Remarkable piece of film.