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
"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