A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.
Even though Mrs. Robinson is undeniably a far more sophisticated and sexy woman than her pretty, naive daughter, Elaine represents the unapologetic and uncompromising idealism of the younger generation. Ben, who more than anything wanted his life to be "different" and grew tired of his purely physical relationship with Elaine's mother, just naturally shifted his romantic attachment to her daughter. The movie's score began to play a more important role as he courted her. I don't necessarily agree with those who claim the second part of the movie wasn't as good as the first. Although Ben indeed may have been kidding himself about just how much he loved and needed Elaine, he nevertheless fervently pursued her, and his love for the girl, whether real or imagined, represented what he considered most important in life. This was a real parting of the ways from the values of the older generation, who appeared to place romantic love fairly low on their list of priorities. In fact, without so many examples of their cynical and oft-nauseating attitudes continually in evidence, the movie changed into something else, just as it did in real life when the relatively innocent younger generation tried to experience life on their own terms (which few of them ever succeeded at doing for very long).
"The Graduate" was thus a classic movie that spoke for an entire generation. It is easy to understand why many members of the younger generation of today would be turned off by this movie. They are like the older generation of yesterday (only more so)-- boozing at an early age, driven by a desire to achieve material success above all else, obsessed with gadgets and other ephemeral distractions, and terrified that they might be perceived as "losers," which not coincidentally is the biggest insult they can apply to one another or to members of the older generation of today. Benjamin Braddock would be, to them, "a loser" who didn't know what was important or what he ought to want. When their own kids reach maturity and begin to seek greater meaning and purpose than the emphasis on money and position that is obviously so important to their parents, watch them reject almost everything Generation X stands for. It will be "The Graduate" all over again.
- Jun 13, 2005