This past Tuesday was the first time I’ve watched the Graduate . Initially I thought it was simply a romantic comedy from the late 1960s, but after thinking about it further there are many themes throughout the movie that make it ground breaking for this particular era.
The main character Benjamin, a young, innocent man freshly out of college, is exploited and betrayed by Mrs. Robinson, who represents a corrupt and immoral older generation. This is the main theme throughout the film and it really captured the times. The ending seems to represent the younger generation escaping the corruption and immorality of the older generation as the couple fights off the crowd in the church. At this time the Vietnam War was occurring and the anarchic mood of America’s youth was mirrored through the actions of Ben, who at first was confused and then seduced by Mrs. Robinson but later learns his lesson.
Despite what seems to be a happy ending, as Elaine and Ben ride off in a bus, away from their worries, I wasn’t pleased with the ending. While I understand Ben was finding himself, he lost the trust of many people because he slept with Mrs. Robinson. In addition, he is taking away Elaine from all the people that love her and know her.