Film #05. The Graduate (1962)


When you found a story or message that tells something about the past still relevant in the present, you call it a classic. I thought The Graduate (1967) was too old and serious to be enjoyed by someone who was born in the era when so much have been changed since then. Yes, it is about America in the 1960s, but its message about uncertainty in understanding oneself indeed transcends time and place where there produces graduates every year.

I have always known graduation as a celebratory occasion. In many films it is depicted with full of laughters and encouragements from colleagues, teachers and parents. Ironically, the most classical film on graduation is devoid of such a scene with elegant robes and caps. The movie is really about an immediate life after graduation that starts with an uncertain face. The figures of the Parents are subtly antagonized in the process in which Benjamin tries to get what he wants for his life. Mr and Mrs. Braddock are only physically present in the background, completely powerless and unknowing to Benjamin’s desires. The jealous and sardonic Mrs. Robinson, deepens Benjamin’s trouble by objectifying him as an elusion from her dissatisfied marriage. When everything that have given him a sense of security and stability is crumbling around him, Benjamin finds a new purpose in life in his devotion to Elaine, the girl of his dreams. Romantic it may seem on the surface, but Benjamin’s blind pursuit of Elaine conceals so much underneath that far escapes the optimistic festivity of graduation ceremony.

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