There’s always a worry when going in to see a ‘classic’ movie that it might not live up to expectations… well, I can confirm that The Graduate can now keep Citizen Kane company on my list of classics that are far from all their cracked up to be.
As always I did my best to go in with an open mind and will admit to not really knowing very much of The Graduate at all, beyond the music from Simon & Garfunkel and the ubiquitous line “Are you trying to seduce me Mrs Robinson” and what I got was a film that I can only describe as a largely pointless mess.
Starting off with the titular Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) returning from college to a celebratory party he doesn’t want to be attending, things looked promising from the angle of a coming of age tale of an awkward young man. This was soon derailed though by the arrival of Anne Bancroft as Mrs Robinson who very awkwardly attempts to seduce the awkward Benjamin.
It was at this point that the film started to lose me because from this point on, as a film shot as if it is taking place in the real world, it fails to make any sense, as a comedy it is not nearly funny enough and as a drama has nothing nearly dramatic enough in it, so what remains is a confusing and awkward mess with some interesting camera and editing work in it.
Hoffman does a job of playing Benjamin, at times even putting across the genuine awkward young man feeling, but for the most part this feels like Ricky Gervais invented a time machine, headed back to 1967 and vomited up a left over script akin to the office but dealing with different characters.
All in all The Graduate is a film with no sympathetic characters and because of this there is no story worth caring about leaving, essentially, as a blank two-hour period in my life and I’ll leave it on this… Wayne’s World did the ending better.
So, onto the viewing experience…
The CineGuernsey organised screening was held in the lecture room at the back of Candie Museum which instantly gives it the air of the worse rooms we used for screenings while I was in Aberystwyth. Added to this was the fact that, being off a poorly set up DVD projection the image was exceptionally low quality and the audio was out of synch throughout.
This was also compounded by the fact that some members of the audience felt the need to discuss it as it went on and, in one case it seems, hum along tunelessly to the soundtrack.
This was then compounded, following the movie, by the incredulous reactions of members of the CineGuernsey club that I didn’t enjoy this supposed classic and their attitude that I maybe didn’t get it because it came out in 1967! Well sorry, but I can appreciate a good film from any era, it just has to be that crucial thing of a good film!
Rant ends, now to find something worth watching!
And to cheer everyone up after that, a song: