The Graduate

The Graduate ★★★★★

Undoubtedly in the pantheon of the great coming of age tales cinema has offered us over the years, The Graduate is a truly unique blend of melancholic hilarity and profound malaise, helmed by a perfectly understated performance from Dustin Hoffman and transcendent direction from the recently deceased Mike Nichols. It's one of the most thoughtful comedies I have ever seen, as literally every scene is chock full of meticulous symbolism and technical metaphors, a wonderful film to dissect frame to frame. There's the infamous conclusion, perfectly wrapping up every theme presented without using a line of dialogue to achieve it. Then the Mrs. Robinson saga, coupled with the subsequent fling with her daughter, and how Ben's personal issues are reflected in a fascinating way within those family dynamics as well. In fact, earlier today I wrote four and a half pages on the scuba suit scene alone for my film class. How many comedies could prompt that kind of dissection?

The premise of Ben's exploits with the Robinson family would have been a fine comedy unto itself, but Nichol's allows Ben's internal dilemna take charge, and rightfully so. There are so many possible interpretations to take from this movie, every rewatch only enhances my appreciation for it. It's a comedic classic that is entirely deserving of it's iconic status, The Graduate is very much like the Simon and Garfunkle music that occupies it's soundtrack - wistful, melancholic, gentle, subversive, and tenderly political, an embodiment of the angst within the 60's counterculture. And I haven't even mentioned Anne Bancroft yet.

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