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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Graduate is a unique classic 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, such as "ass" or "damn" used sparingly. Many of the adults drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes very casually.
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What's the story?
In THE GRADUATE, after Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) leaves 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. Robinson's disapproval.
Is it any good?
This intriguing comedy was influential in that the plot seems to build toward 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.
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 while also giving certain quiet moments an astounding serenity -- a marriage of pop music and film that influenced many later films.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how well The Graduate 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 definitely will want to address Ben's complicated relationship with Mrs. Robinson. Does she 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?
Would you consider this movie to be a classic? Why, or why not?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.