Movie Review: The Graduate

I think this has to be one of the most famous movies of all time. The “I think you are trying to seduce me” The leg with Dustin Hoffman standing underneath it, and the entire ending sequence redone in Wayne’s World 2, one word: Plastics, and so on. So this is on Netflix, and let’s see if it lives up to all the love it gets. I do want to say that I am well into the Mrs Robinson age-range, so I’ve got that going for me.

graduate-1Dustin Hoffman is home after graduating school, but doesn’t know what to do now, and all the attention makes him nervous. Mrs Robinson, the wife of Dustin Hoffman’s father’s law partner, asks him to take her home. He’s nervous, but Dustin takes her home. While there, she’s pretty out with the sexual tension, and Dustin Hoffman is one of those guys that tell the cops when the hot teacher makes a pass at him in high school. She invites him upstairs to see a portrait of her daughter, and he agrees. Man, rich white people. She asks him to bring up her purse while she goes to the bathroom, and when he returns, she walks in naked. We get flashes of the cougar that I’m sure have been the causes of many a VCR being worn out in the 80s. Did I mention this movie is a PG movie? Damn the 70s were something. Mr Robinson comes home, and Dustin Hoffman is out of there. The next day, Hoffman realizes what an idiot he was, and sets up a date with the cougar, and they meet at a hotel. As time goes on, Hoffman wants more out the relationship, but Mrs Robinson only wants a physical relationship. The waters really get muddy when Hoffman’s parents push him into asking out Elaine Robinson, the daughter, when she comes home from school. Mrs Robinson makes no bones about not wanting Hoffman to date her daughter, and when Hoffman enjoys his first date, that causes trouble.

So how the Graduate?

Ah Hell.

This is supposed to be one of the great films in cinema, one I have wanted to see for years, but much like Apocalypse Now and Bride of Frankenstein, I just don’t see it. I’m going to throw up a Spoiler Tag before I throw most of my thoughts on this one, but let me get some of the good out of the way.

graduate-weddingThe build is wonderful. We know why Hoffman is how he is. His parents push him into everything, he went to school to grow up, didn’t and knows that he has no shot at freedom. He even calls Mrs Robinson “Mrs Robinson” for the vast majority of the movie, until he starts to lose respect for her. Dustin Hoffman is very polite, and very proper, just like he was raised to be. The problem is, there is no break we see. He just bounces to the daughter, and doesn’t care about anything else, and we don’t know WHY. The daughter is not really interested in him, and is going to marry another in the Wayne World 2 fashion, so the ending doesn’t make any sense to me.

The water aspect says a lot to me. Hoffman contacts Mrs Robinson right after showing off a full scuba outfit. Hoffman is even pushed back in the water by the parents. As the movie progresses, Hoffman still enjoys the pool, but spends more and more time out of the water, on the float, etc. This does get abandoned in the third act, but it’s a nice touch.

I’m going 4 here. I almost could go lower, but I think it has some serious good here, it’s well acted, and well shot and lord knows there is some historical significance behind it. I don’t think if this movie came out today there would be nearly as much love given as there is for this one. I do love the running gag about Dustin liking bourbon but people keep giving him Scotch. There has to be a reason there. Oh, and I hope you like Simon and Garfunkel. They were supposed to put 3 songs out for this one, they got 2, and boy do they use the hell out of them.


Spoilers Shead

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1 Comment

  1. Saw this in the movies with an actual “friend” of Hoffman… she knew him before the movie when he was still “struggling” at his craft. Graduate was his was inaugural appearance on the Big Screen as well as his breakout movie. Any way I thought the movie was pretty good back then. Nothing great but pretty good. Then I had a chance to see it on HBO or some such channel last year… watched it for about 15 minutes. It was very dated and I found it boring. four is about right for this movie. Not a classic at all. a classic holds up over time. Like Casablanca.

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