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The Graduate

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Graduate

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft
Director: Mike Nichols
Rated: PG
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: December 1967
Genres: Classic, Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Norman Fell, Elizabeth Wilson, Brian Avery, Marion Lorne, Alice Ghostley, Jacey Hunter

Review by Brian Koller
3 stars out of 4

"The Graduate" is a good comedy that has generally been over-rated over the years. While the film launched Dustin Hoffman's career, it is by no means his best film (my bets are on "Little Big Man"). Most of the humor works, which admittedly is the point, but the characters of Hoffman and Ross lack consistency and motivation.

Perhaps "The Graduate" should have been called "The Three Faces of Dustin" instead. Benjamin (Hoffman) has just graduated from college, but continues to live at home. He is polite and earnest. He is seduced by his father's partner's wife, middle-aged Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). As the furtive affair continues, Benjamin becomes secretive and dissipated. Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Elaine (Katherine Ross) returns home from college. Under pressure from his parents, Benjamin dates Elaine but soon falls for her. This leads to The Third Face of Dustin, the obsessed Stalker, as he tries to get her to marry him.

Benjamin is extremely naive for a college graduate with his golden resume, which includes captain of the track team and editor of the college newspaper. It doesn't help that Hoffman was thirty years old in 1967, nearly ten years older than his character. His first encounter with Bancroft at a swank hotel is endearingly clumsy, but not completely credible. After several such encounters, he still refers to her as "Mrs. Robinson". You think they'd be on a first name basis by then.

Katherine Ross is lovely, but her character seems to just go with the flow. When Benjamin is cruel to her, she cries. When he wants to make up, she agrees. Benjamin stalks her, and she believes that he raped her mother. So, why does she show up at his apartment. And agree to marry him against her parent's wishes and her better judgment? And whatever happened to the beautiful brand new Alfa Romeo? If he doesn't want it, I'll take it!

Look fast for Richard Dreyfuss. He's the guy who wants to call the police. Buck Henry, who also co-wrote the screenplay, has a small part, as does Norman Fell. All three are funny.

The soundtrack is full of Simon & Garfunkel tunes. The soundtrack had as much success as the film, topping the charts. The tunes are wimpy but still very good.

"The Graduate" won the Oscar for Best Director (Mike Nichols). The film was nominated for many other Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hoffman), Best Actress (Bancroft), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Robert Surtees), and Best Supporting Actress (Ross).

Copyright 1999 Brian Koller

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