I understand the social commentary of The Graduate, and I can even relate to Ben’s state of confusion after graduating college, but I can’t say that the events following are appropriate enough given the context.
This film’s biggest mistake isn’t a mistake really at all. It is the fact that it’s extremely dated. Perhaps The Graduate is historically significant, but it just doesn’t hold up well at all. While deeply analyzing this film you can’t deny that it’s pretty smart, but that analysis must only come after understanding the perspective of the times–that is, the generation gap and the confusion of growing up in the ’60s. And it’s even unsure as to whether that acuity is intentional or not. The Graduate may have been relevant and sensible in 1967, but in this day and age it doesn’t seem so.
Another fault, which is a bit more tangible, lies within the characters. Their rationales don’t make much sense. The film is made up of a cacophony of decisions that should be labeled as farce, but are taken way too seriously to even be considered as such. Elaine has to be the most annoying character. While she isn’t a terrible person, it doesn’t make any sense why she’s in love with Ben and why she’s so understanding towards him after thinking that he raped her mother. And apparently Ben and Elaine are in love with each other after one date–and not even a very good one at that. There is no affable character in this entire film. They all make you feel uncomfortable. And I have a hard time enjoying a film that gives me nobody to like or sympathize with.
This is an example of a movie that isn’t a sum of its parts. There are many good scenes, but together they don’t add up to an enjoyable experience. It doesn’t feel like a story so much as a series of events that don’t fit together seamlessly. Although stylistically even, the tone seems to be unset.
There just simply isn’t any redeeming value to this film whatsoever, and I can’t say that I like it. Not to mention, he keeps driving on the Bay Bridge for no reason.