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flick pick | The Graduate 1967
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Written by: Calder Willingham, Buck Henry
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: comedy
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: darkly comic, quintessentially quasi-adult
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: ½/5 

Plot synopsis Ben Braddock graduates from his east coast college with academic accolades and track medals aplenty, and no clue about what to do with the rest of his life. He makes the trip back home to California, where his parents can't stop bragging about Ben's college achievements, except when they take a break to pester him about his plans for the future. His affluent folks and their equally well-off friends are all eager to give Ben advice ("One word: plastics!"), but Ben's a bit repelled by their superficial lifestyle, and not at all certain he's eager to jump into that world. Mostly, Ben just kind of wants to be left alone, so he can have a nice, quiet summer, and mull over what he really wants to do with his life. But at the end of a party at his parents' place one night, he finds himself roped into driving home Mrs. Robinson, the wife of a family friend -- and Ben's life is soon thrown for a loop. Mrs. Robinson has great legs and a throaty voice, and she makes inexperienced young Benjamin very, very nervous indeed. She propositions him, in one of the funniest seduction scenes ever, and the two begin meeting regularly at a local hotel. It's just sex, but when Ben unexpectedly falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's pretty young daughter, Elaine, Mrs. Robinson is decidedly not pleased. Soon, Ben finds himself scorned by a bitter and somewhat unhinged ex-mistress, her cuckolded husband, and an ex-girlfriend who never wants to see him again. Still, for the first time all summer, Ben's finally figured out what he wants, which is why he'll do whatever it takes to win Elaine back.

Review The last time I saw The Graduate was during my sophomore year of college. I remember thinking it was kind of amusing, but somewhat dated -- and the fact that it opened with Simon and Garfunkel doing "The Sound of Silence," a song my 7th grade music teacher used to make us sing, didn't help the slightly dorky feel. It's weird what a difference a few (okay, maybe a bit more) years can make, because when I watched The Graduate again a few days ago, I was amazed at how timeless it seems now. Ben Braddock's post-college angst would have been excruciatingly familiar -- if it weren't for the fact that The Graduate is such a funny, funny movie. It makes you laugh at those universal quasi-adult worries over entering a "real" world you're not sure you're like, even while it acknowledges that, yeah, you're probably right to be at least a little afraid. In a performance that would make him a star, Dustin Hoffman does a terrific job of capturing how awkward and out-of-place Ben feels in the grown-up world in which everybody else seems convinced he now belongs. As for Anne Bancroft's Mrs. Robinson, she's 100% pure sexy, with just the right amount of crazy thrown in for good, absurdly amusing, measure. An offbeat and darkly comic look at generation gaps, post-graduation dilemmas, and the unpredictability of falling in love, The Graduate is a true classic that angsty twentysomethings of any era are sure to appreciate.
—reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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