What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a unique comedy charting an affair between a young man and a married friend of his parents. Much time is spent on the initial seduction and subsequent clandestine meetings in hotel rooms. Though no graphic depictions of intercourse are shown, there are brief shots of female nudity during the seduction and later in a nightclub scene, where a woman strips down to underwear and pasties. Language is fairly restrained, with a few minor curse words, like "ass" or "damn" used sparingly. Many of the adults are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes very casually and with an air of acceptance.
What's the story?
After Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) graduates from college, he's disinterested in everything, career related or not. A family friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), propositions him with an offer of casual sex. The affair seems to bring Benjamin a certain level of contentment. Soon Ben finds problems with their relationship and develops an interest in the Robinsons' daughter Elaine (Katherine Ross), much to Mrs. Robinsons' disapproval.
Is it any good?
Much has been said about the success and aftershocks of the release of THE GRADUATE in 1967. Certainly its deadpan humor and the main character's palpable sense of unease resonated with audience members steeped in the rising counterculture movement. It stands as a document of an era. The lush soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel underscores a pervasive melancholy throughout the film, while also giving certain quiet moments an astounding serenity –- a marriage of pop music and film that influenced many later films.
Another way this movie is influential: The plot seems to build towards an energetic climax, but the actual closing moments are listless, providing little closure. This way of leaving a film open-ended and unsettled, above all else, influenced many of the cinematic treasures of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period that most look back on as golden days of motion picture history.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how well this movie has aged. Does Benjamin's lack of direction upon graduating seem applicable today, or is it more reflective of the state of youth in the 60s? Parents will definitely want to address his complicated relationship with Mrs. Robinson. Does Mrs. Robinson seem genuinely interested in Benjamin? If not, what might her motives be in seducing him? Why does Elaine seem to gain appeal for Benjamin when Mrs. Robinson forbids him to see her? Why is the movie called The Graduate?