Who's getting the short end of the stick here: Mrs. Robinson (AnneBancroft) or Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman)? Since young Ben is played by Hoffman, one can be sure Mrs. Robinson is getting the short end of something.
Some movies stand the test of time. Some run off into the woods, flailing their arms about for no apparent reason, as though they'd just peaked on the hit of acid they took a couple of hours ago. "The Graduate" is clearly the latter. It begins with an interesting concept that turns into a lot of muck by the end -- kind of like the entire '60s if you think about it.
Ben is just out of college, back at home, trying to figure out what to do with his life. Dad (William Daniels) just wants action. Mom (Elizabeth Wilson) doesn't seem to want much of anything. Mrs. Robinson -- as the incantation of all things upper-middle class -- seduces young Ben into spending a lot of time rolling around awkwardly under her sheets. Their relationship comes to an abrupt end when Ben begins pursuing Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). The last half of the film consists of pointless, boring scenes of our heroic stalker Ben trying to track Elaine down.
When "The Graduate" isn't trying to be contemporarily funny (whatever that meant in 1967), it's blasting Simon and Garfunkel tunes loud enough to detonate your hi-fi. The last time I heard that many Simon and Garfunkel tunes I was walking in the park with a friend and some hippie was sitting near a tree with a boom box. Needless to say, after hearing "The Sounds of Silence," "Scarborough Fair" and "Mrs. Robinson" back-to-back-to-back, Mr. Hippie got to discover the joy of digesting plastic.
Hopefully, the irony wasn't lost on him.
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