“The Graduate” in review

Classic coming-of-age film satirizes middle-class America

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018


As classic films go, this is definitely one of the best.


“The Graduate” is a provocative, funny exploration of the American young adult experience unprecedented by any other film. Trust me; if you are part of the small percentage of people who haven’t seen this film, you need to change that. You won’t regret it.

Mike Nichols’ 1967 film is often hailed as one of the most influential films of its time. The Graduate artfully captures the post-college slump through recent college grad, Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), who would rather hang out in his parents’ pool than follow his family’s advice and get a job. Honestly, who can’t relate to that?

In the midst of his unproductivity, Ben falls under the spell of his seductive, married neighbor Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Things get pretty uncomfortable when Mr. Robinson decides to set Ben up with his college-aged daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). Ben ends up falling hopelessly in love with Elaine and, needless to say, it isn’t long until the whole situation blows up in his face.

I distinctly remember the first time I watched this movie several years ago. For a good portion of my viewing experience, I was confused about all the hype. Many of my peers raved about “The Graduate,” going so far as calling it the “best movie of all-time.”

To be completely honest, I spent the majority of the film waiting for it to get good. And I am really glad I did. Once the final, unsettling scene rolled into credits, I realized the hype wasn’t for nothing.

In retrospect, I can definitely agree “The Graduate” is one of the best movies ever made. Each performance was uniquely brilliant and the film was a beyond-accurate, terribly funny satire of middle-class America.

Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Ben Braddock sent him from Hollywood nobody to A-list actor. The Graduate was amongst the top-grossing films of 1968, eventually receiving seven Oscar nominations, including a win for Best Picture. Critics describe it as a “cutting-edge” film, paving the way for the young adult-centered cinema that gained popularity in the 70s.

To put it simply, this is a fantastic movie. “The Graduate” is an intimate examination of youth in America, while simultaneously providing a hilarious satire of the suffocating money-obsessed upper middle-class of American society.

In the midst of the finals chaos, everyone needs a break. So, put down your textbooks, take a deep breath and make your way over to the Woodland Theater in Davies from Dec. 11-13 for a showing of The Graduate. I can guarantee this study break will be much more entertaining than scrolling through Facebook.