“The Graduate” Film Review

Table of Content

Throughout The Graduate, audience members could see through these various characters that individuality was starting to unfold. They refuse to live by certain societal standards because they believe traditional values does not hold the same meaning, as it did in their parents’ generation. Benjamin becomes puzzled and lost when it comes to finding his true self in a brand “new” reality. Meanwhile, his parents are already living this long-established life where they simply do not comprehend that society is constantly changing. This could also reflect changes within the American society as it shows the different perceptions that people may have.

The Graduate shows how women are becoming firmer when it comes to addressing men. Normally, it’s usually the men who would show confidence and dominance towards women. Mrs. Robinson was not afraid to make the first move on Benjamin. Women were making their voices heard as the women’s movement also took place during the 1960s. In the United States, women were evolving and making a name for themselves. Female empowerment was on the rise and it showed. Referring back to The Graduate and Benjamin Braddock, he’s unsure of his place in life. He’s twenty one years old, meaning he’s a young adult. Although, his father seems to think otherwise. Benjamin’s family still views him as a child and questions whether he’s ready or not to venture out in the real world. Personally, I believe this correlates well with American society as a whole, as it shows the mentality of older generations during that time period.

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As you can see, gender in the 1960s was a time of confusion, as it was also revolutionary. The film incorporates the gender roles between a man and a woman. Men were seen as the breadwinners of the family while women were the housewives. Since Benjamin is failed to be seen as a man, he doesn’t know what his parents expect from him. They want him to be a real “man” but still sees him as a boy. At this point, Benjamin wants to separate himself from everyone. For example, the party scene where he is introduced to several guests as he puts on his suit and tie. From the looks of it, he’s displeased with the situation. As the viewer observes the behaviors of each guest, one could get a sense that Benjamin is still acknowledged as a child.

At one point, a young lady even asked about his future. Of course, Benjamin is indecisive. As for Elaine, she’s another individual who happens to be in the same predicament as Benjamin. She has to abide to her parents’ request by marrying Carl, a young man who she ends up leaving at the end. The women’s movement was emerging at the time which corresponded well with Elaine and her dilemma. Women should be entitled to their own personal rights. They should be free to make their own decisions without receiving backlash from countless people. Elaine is able to demonstrate how she was one of the many unfortunate ones that did not have the power to make her own decision. She had to obey the rules that society constructed in regards to their traditional values. However, she ends up breaking those boundaries by running off with Benjamin at the end. This proves how the youth rebellion was an impactful event during the 1960s. Through Elaine’s actions, she encompassed the old and the new generation into one.

Despite the changes that The Graduate had impacted on American society, it also affected the Hollywood film industry as well. Since this was released in 1967, it became an influence to future filmmakers, who’ve considered to pertain to the counterculture backdrop aspect of the 1960s. More or less, I believe this film could be intended for the youth. The 1960s was a time where the youth was rebelling and the Hollywood film industry took advantage of the opportunity. Films such as The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde, showcased how life was often portrayed. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. Also, timing is key. Different movements were happening during the 1960s and it showed through the films. If directors could release a movie at a time where it corresponds to real life situations that are still ongoing, then it makes audience members reflect and ponder. From The Graduate, Benjamin is a confused young man, where he constantly endures criticism from both of his parents. Personally, I believe a lot of young individuals could relate to Benjamin in a way, especially if this movie were released in today’s society.

Hence, Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate are two films that impacted American society in several different aspects. Each told a story that made individuals reflect in ways we could only imagine. Both films were ahead of its time but still managed to make change within the Hollywood industry.

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