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Film Analysis Of The Graduate Directed By Mike Nichols

2511 words - 10 pages

"Mrs. Robinson, you are trying to seduce me," says Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman). The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols in 1967 is an influential satire/comedy film about a recent East Coast college graduated who finds himself alienated and aimless in the changing, social and sexual general public of the 1960s, and questioning the values of society. The theme of the film is of an innocent and confused youth who is exploited, mis-directed, seduced (literally and figuratively) and betrayed by a corrupt, self-indulgent, and discredited older generation (that finds stability in “plastics”) that I found to be quite clear and understanding, while also capturing the real spirit of the times and allows America's youth to perceive onscreen an image of themselves which they can both identify with and emulate. The Graduate is a significant film even today due to its use of abstract camera angles, telephoto lenses, excellent cinematography, and great acting. Few visual effects were used, however, matting and numerous point of view shots were used. These characteristics and the fabulous use of mis-en-scene, great writing and the era of the film all made The Graduate what it is today, magnificent.
Benjamin Braddock is at a crossroads in his life. He has just graduated college which means he has reached adulthood and must decide what to do with his life. The problem is Benjamin is too immature to handle it. He is passive and watches the world around him move on. Ben prefers to lie around in his parent's pool rather than consider graduate school or finding good quality job. He is beginning to realize that the path his parents have chosen for him isn't the one he wishes to follow. He is lost young man in search of high dreams, self discovery, and is frightened by the thought of becoming a man.
The film opens up with a close-up, disembodied image of Benjamin Braddock’s face (Dustin Hoffman) a twenty year old recent East Coast college graduate. He appears alone and isolated – he is – but when the camera pulls back, it reveals that he is on a plane filled with other passengers of all different ages. He is returning home to Los Angeles from college in the East. He appears slightly shy and uninviting; his face is blank, expressionless, lethargic, and almost zombie-like looking. [The beginning and end of the film are very similar with each other – the young couple, is surrounded by a busload of passengers, but still remain isolated and unemotional.] Benjamin stands mute to himself on the automated, moving walkway at the busy LAX airport the camera is positioned to reveal Ben's left profile while the frame height is a medium close shot allowing Ben's image to dilute in the viewers mind. In this profile shot, the character is positioned to the right third of the frame to allow sufficient space in front of Ben. This is done in order to not cluster the characters line of sight as seen by the viewer. Dustin Hoffman's character appears to be...

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