The Graduate

The Graduate ★★★★★

Criterion Collection Spine #800

Never has cinematography been used so brilliantly to tell the story in this American classic!

'Here's to you Mrs. Robinson!'

I first checked out The Graduate when I randomly saw on my family's DVD shelf in High School, and really enjoyed it. I can totally relate with Dustin Hoffman's character Ben's desire to do absolutely nothing after graduating from college. Too bad my Mother and fiancee were constantly badgering me to get a job with benefits.

Now that I approach all movie I watch from a critical prospective, I can see all the nuisances that make this film a masterpiece. Several of the podcasts I listened to noted how unrealistic Ben was as a character since he acts so doopy, but I found this approach funny and charming as a guy with little confidence when it comes to girls.

So many of the shots are so purposely composed to evoke Ben's feelings throughout the whole movie. Early on they show him with half of his face in the shadow and the other in the light to show that he is conflicted about his future. Later on during his graduation party, the camera is super close up on all these strangers approaching him, to help us share in his discomfort. Then the famous 'Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?' scene is shot so we see Ben thru her legs, which is exactly where she wants him!

The pool is used as a center piece to help continue illustrating Ben's feelings, like when you see and hear how isolated he is in that scuba suit while in the pool. Later on we get that fantastic shot where he is on the raft and he looks up at his father, and we know he is not listening to a word he is saying since the sun is used to completely black out his face. Plus that is such a realistic pov of what he would be seeing while laying in a pool

There is also an amazing shot that Cinefix's List of the Best Shots of All Time included, where a rack focus is so effectively used to show Mrs. Robinson's daughter
Elaine's slow realization about Ben's affair with her mother.

I could just go on and on about the amazing shots in this film from Ben looking like he is endlessly running to the church, the opening airport escalator shot, and that final shot where the heroic couple looks totally lost after they passionately runaway from the establishment trying to control their lives.

The Graduate would also not be this iconic classic without the incredible score from Simon and Garfunkel, and I absolutely love these songs! It was so cool how you can hear the Mrs. Robinson tune being whistled right before she approaches Ben to tell him never to see
Elaine again.

Anne Bancroft is amazing as Mrs. Robinson, and I love how she is able to manipulate Ben into finally sleeping with her for the first time. That first date Ben has with Elaine gets so awkward as he tries to keep her from liking him by taking her to a strip club. Very similar to the porn movie theater date from 'Taxi Driver'.

The movie does drag a bit when Ben goes up to Berkeley to try to win Elaine back, but otherwise this movie is comes pretty close to perfection in my book!

Fun fact they came out with kind of a sequel with the 2005 movie 'Rumor Has It...'

"I'm Finished!"
-Daniel Plainview

Happy moving watching ... SKOL!

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