Zackary Bender’s review published on Letterboxd:
I have never liked the back of DVD covers and “The Graduate” is a prime example. Now this maybe an odd thing to start off with, but there’s a purpose to this. The problem with descriptions is that it never fully encapsulates what a film is. I know that yes, a mother seduces the next door neighbor and that same neighbor tries seducing the daughter of said mother. If you read a plain description it’s some dopey situational comedy. “The Graduate” does so much more.
I first saw this film when I took film classes in community college. The main lesson for this movie was in its transitions and filming techniques. It just points directly to the fact that, holy shit Mike Nichols made a good looking film. In most plain films I remember a few stills. I can recount so many moments from just the now 2 and a half viewings of this movie. I don’t have a great recall of films, but here there are so many meaningful shots that catch the eye.
The acting is tremendous. Emotion is probably the most instrumental in getting me to like a film. A lot is put on Dustin Hoffman on how well he handles the role, but Anne Bancroft I feel terrible for. She does some good work, and it’s her legs that the world will remember more. Back to Dustin Hoffman, what a performance. While Anne Bancroft rivals Hoffman in acting ability, Dustin portrays a character that relates well to, well me. No, I was not seduced by a neighbor next door. Braddock worries about the future is something that speak to me profoundly. As someone who is somewhere on the ASD and has suffered from social anxiety, the future is probably one of the most pressing issues I’ll ever face. The ending alone is an accumulation of everything that just tears me apart. The mixture of (from this viewing alone) fear of what lies ahead, animosity toward authority, and being an opponent to societal norms gives an emotional cathartic release.
After watching, I know it’ll be a movie that on future rewatches will endure as one that I will enjoy, question, and yes be emotionally torn over.