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Arbogast1960's Movie Reviews (50)

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The Graduate 
"Are you here for an affair, sir?"
4/4 stars

I can't agree with some of the other comments about the film's dullness. There are certainly a few moments that don't seem especially plot-driven (for example, the wandering around Berkeley set to Scarborough Fair). I feel, however, that these scenes are integral to both the film's story and its overall atmosphere, emphasizing Ben Braddock's aimlessness and terminal ennui (not unlike the famous floating in the swimming pool). Dustin Hoffman is excellent as the disenchanted Ben, as is Katharine Ross as the luminous Elaine. Interestingly, both characters are so vapid and, frankly, boring, one can't imagine ever wanting to have a conversation with them. Meanwhile, Anne Bancroft gives one of the cinema's finest performances as Mrs. Robinson. While at first glance she seems like the prototypical cougar, she's also the only interesting character in the film, the only one worth getting to know. It is this curious dynamic--the boring, insipid protagonists; the fascinating, vivacious villain--that makes the film so very interesting. And that last shot, of Elaine and Ben on the bus, looking vaguely unsettled--it is only this recent kerfuffle that has injected any life into them, but their future together must be horrifyingly placid. Though they may have found a certain solidarity against a common enemy, it has only glossed over their angst rather than solved it. The film's resolution, like life's, is queasy--a sure sign of greatness.


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