I saw this movie in the 80s and never forgot it. I watched it when I was roughly the same as Benjamin in the movie and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
Dustin Hoffman portrays Benjamin Braddock a college graduate coming home and not having a clue what he was going to do with his life. He keeps getting asked and grilled about it and he keeps retreating into himself. He is eventually seduced by an old friend of his parents Mrs. Robinson. At first, he tries to avoid her but he is such an easy target for the older woman. He finds himself eventually succumbing to her advances.
Benjamin is full of confusion and anxiety but keeps meeting her. He realizes he wants more than sex out of a relationship and then the affair turns into a nightmare. He finds himself falling for the one woman in the world Mrs. Robinson tells him to stay away from…her daughter Elaine.
Elaine starts to like Benjamin and Elaine is told about what happened. Elaine goes away to school but he Benjamin will not give up trying to explain and win her back. Elaine is to be married and Benjamin eventually tracks the wedding down and crashes it.
He arrives but Elaine was just married. Mrs. Robinson says its too late and Elaine said “not for me….” Elaine and Benjamin ran off with joy and triumph and get on a bus.
The last couple of minutes are the magical part of this movie. The church scene and the close-ups setup the last scene. It’s the last scene that makes this movie different from others. The two get on a bus and are smiling but then the smiles fade…the look on Hoffman’s face tells a story…they got what they wanted and now what does he do? Where do they go from here? Is it all downhill from there? It’s open to interpretation.
The Simon and Garfunkel’s songs set the mood of this movie and it would not be the same without them. They are as big a part of this movie as the actors. This movie made me more of a fan of Simon and Garfunkel. I tracked the soundtrack down in the 80s just for the song “April Come She Will.”
The cast included
Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross. William Daniels and Murray Hamilton… and it was directed by Mike Nichols