After graduation, Benjamin Braddock struggles to come to terms with his new life post education.
Falling into an affair with a much older, married woman, Ben must find himself all over again.
Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) comes home to a huge congratulatory party where he is obviously uncomfortable meeting and greeting the guests. But at the party he is re-introduced to Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft), he then drives her home.
Once there she attempts to seduce the young graduate [sic] but Ben is too confused and nervous to respond. They are then interrupted when Mr Robinson (Murray Hamilton) returns.
Ben plucks up the courage and does begin a clandestine relationship with Mrs Robinson, the wife of his father’s business partner.
His relationship with his father (William Daniels), though becomes strained over an endless, idle summer. Then Ben is placed in an awkward corner when both his parents and Mr Robinson badger him to date Elaine Robinson (Katherine Ross), the daughter of his lover.
I love this movie.
Dustin Hoffman‘s Ben is allowed to bounce off all the others characters in a sort of super-realistic human pinball machine.
The oddness of his situation is constantly grounded by banality of the life that seems to stretch ahead of him. The performance of Anne Bancroft, so demanding and controlling as Mrs Robinson, is quite rightly considered a high point of the movie but look around.
The tortured Elaine, played shyly by Katherine Ross.
The ambitious Mr Braddock, pesteringly portrayed by William Daniels (so much more than the voice of an 80’s super car).
The hurt that follows the unveiling of the relationship.
Wonderful support, I hope you agree.
What I will forever remember though is that glorious, consistent and utterly evocative soundtrack.
If this isn’t the best pop soundtrack in movies, I seriously want to hear what tops it.
Simon and Garfunkel are used to glorious effect here. The two main songs, “Sounds of Silence” and the eponymous “Mrs Robinson“, are repeated through the movie. As with all great music in movies it enhances the mood to allow us to understand the characters better.
Bizarrely, amongst its more than half a dozen nominations for Academy Awards (with Mike Nichols picking up an award for Best Director), the soundtrack doesn’t feature.
Wonderful movie, wonderful music. This is not a musical nor a comedy. It is funny but it is at its heart a romantic coming-of-age drama. If you want proof just re-run that final scene a few times. I find it quite chilling. Very well done too.
Things to look out for: “Mrs Robinson, you are trying to seduce me.“, lazing on the pool, “Hello darkness my old friend“, hotel room nerves, “And here’s to you, Mrs Robinson“, post-graduation party (brrr), horrible first date, destroyed wedding, any of the music, “This conversation is getting a little strange“, that final scene
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton
Rating: strong and evocative, very highly recommended