The Graduate (1967) 4.93/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 78
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Duration: 106 mins
Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross

Mike Nichols’ iconic film is one of those rare gems that perfectly blends humour with serious character study. Whereas most comedies corrupt reality to generate laughs, The Graduate embraces it and in doing so exposes its inherent contradictions and natural absurdities. Dustin Hoffman plays the title character Benjamin, who becomes trapped in a malaise after graduation and instead of moving forward as everyone expects, he begins to regress. Ann Bancroft plays the infamous Mrs. Robinson who, drawn to his youth, takes advantage of his confusion for her own selfish purposes. However, Benjamin’s life is suddenly snapped into perspective with the arrival of Robinson’s daughter (Katherine Ross) and as the two of them grow closer, Mrs. Robinson’s desperation turns malevolent. Hoffman is brilliant in the lead role but his performance is complemented wonderfully by Bancroft’s. Ross scores well also with her comparatively smaller role. Nichols’ film is a totally original comedy that is flushed with symbolism and technical innovation. Despite the genuinely funny moments, it’s a very dark film that mocks the eternal search to fill life’s empty voids. Mirroring the inertia of Benjamin, it moves forward at a hypnotic pace thanks largely to Simon and Garfunkle’s seminal soundtrack which more than anything else captures the irony of this timeless masterpiece.

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