ANALYSIS OF THE GRADUATE FILM
ANALYSISOF THE GRADUATE FILM
TheGraduate filmfeaturesas a ground-breaking and key movie that was produced during the 1960sera, a time when flick making assumed a new shift in the industry.Thesignificantlevel of influence of the film is attributed to the dominance ofsatire and comedy concerning a recent nebbish. The film, produced anddirected by Nichols Mike in 1967, is based on a 1963 novel that wasauthored by a recent college graduate. The scenes revolve around a21-year-oldboy called Benjamin Braddock, who seems to be less ambitious in lifeand lacks well-defined goals. Such is his unpreparedness, lack offocus, and confusion that he is seduced by an old woman, but ends upfalling in love with his daughter. Consequently, the film illustratesthe kind of predicament that young people find them in as they striveto come to age.
Thestory revolves around the life of an East Coast college student whohas just graduated and is somehow compelled to face the real worldwhether ready or not. As the story develops, he gets adrift and isalienated in the sexual and social mores that characterized the1960s. This makes him questionsome of the values of societyand uses the keyword “plastics,” to make his point. At 21,Benjamin Braddock has already graduated from Williams College andgoes home to celebrate the achievement with his family in California.During the ceremony, he seems very uncomfortable at the advicehe is given about his future, as well as related questions to helphim figure out how to earn a living as an independent person. Afterthe party, the wife of his father‘s workmate,Mrs. Robinson, manages to persuade Benjamin to drive her home sinceshe is tipsy from the drinking. When they arrive at the destination,she invites him to her daughter’s roomand seduces him to have an affair with her. At first,he refuses to make love to her, but after a couple of days, they meetin a hotel room and they sleep together. The illicit affair goes onfor a whilebefore Benjamin starts to get close to Mrs. Robinson’s daughter,Elaine. Some of the themes forwarded by the film seem to mirror thechanges that took place in Hollywood, a time when there was a steadyrise of a new class of movie directors who were relatively vanguardin nature. For instance, there is the celebrated Mike Nichols whoattracted worldwide attention with his debut, Who’sAfraid of Virginia Woolf, whichwas produced in 1966. The piece was an instant success and won him anAcademy Award for best director in that year.
Theclothing and costume of the film have been strategically chosen tocorrespond with the themes and the various motivations of thecharacters. In the initial stages, Benjamin is dressed in a brokensuit, typical of college graduates when they are on job huntingmission. The director’s choice was informed by the need to presenthim as a naïve and disembodied boy who is searching for somedirection. There is also the use of seductive clothing to align withthe themes of romance and the illicit sexual affair between Benjaminand Miss. Robinson.
Inrelation to movement and clothing, the body is designed to emphasizethe film’s conflict, which includesthe dilemma that Benjamin is in. He has an affair with Mrs. Robinsonand at the same time, in love with her daughter, Elaine. As such, thedirector was strategic in promoting seductive movements and clothing.There is a high touch of contemporary fashion associated with the1960s influx of clothing designs, and Mike sought to show the role offashion in fostering sexual attractions.
Themovie commences with a disembodied, close-up image of naïveBenjamin’s face. He is a 29-year-oldadult who is playing the role of a 21-year-oldcollege graduate. Benjamin is all by himself and isolated, but as thecamera flashes back, the audience finds out that he is on a planeback home alongside passengers of different age groups. Apparently,he is slightly unprepossessing and shy, with a blank face and azombie look.
Oneof the dominant themes in the movie is fashion explosion of the 1960sera. The majority of the characters are dressed in grandeur, high–taste designs. A look at some female characters in the party,especially Mrs. Robinson, reveals different dressing patterns andcombination of colors. The director used fashion to signify the highambitions of people as they pursue their professional lives andindulge in fashion and textile to reflect their corporate andbusiness success.
Thereare various accessories that are used to enhance the film’s highsense of fashion and glamor.In spite of the cynical disposition, Benjamin is forced to dress wellon his various escapades with Mrs. Robinson. The various locationsthat the director chose also work as effective accessories thatenhance the theme of romance, sexual affairs, and materialism.
Thefilm has used various elements to reveal the nature of thepredicament that young people find themselves in as they come to age.The author has used the themes of fashion and added other accessoriesto achieve his objective of depicting the adopted way of life duringthe era.
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