Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just graduated from college in four years and returns home to his upper-middle-class family. All he wants is to be left alone at the beginning of the movie, but his parents have organized a party in his honor, and the only thing he can do is sneak off to his room and try to hide. Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of a family friend, wanders into Benjamin's room and won't be shrugged off. He drives her home and they have a drink. She turns the lights down and the music up and he says "Mrs. Robinson, I believe you're trying to seduce me." He apologizes profusely, but she really was coming on to him. They begin to have liaisons at a local hotel, and Benjamin loses all ambition for school. He lets his scholarship run out to spend his days lazing around in the pool and his nights with Mrs. Robinson. All is well with the world (albeit a bit cracked out) until Mrs. Robinson's daughter Elaine (Katherine Ross) comes home. Benjamin and Elaine go out and, in spite of Benjamin's best sabotage, they hit it off stupendously. However, Mrs. Robinson lies to Elaine and tells her that Benjamin raped her, so Elaine runs off to school at Berkeley and never wants to see him again. Benjamin chases her to Berkeley and asks her to marry him, but she runs away again. We find out that Elaine is to be married to some other guy, so Benjamin rushes to the church, climbs up in the loft, pounds on the glass window yelling "Elaine!", and they run away together. Off they go on the bus, holding hands and wondering what's going to come next.
Review: This movie's true strength is in its imagery. Every ten minutes, you run across some classic image that has been ripped off more times than you can count: Benjamin walking out the door in his scuba suit (flippers flapping like crazy), the under the leg shot when Benjamin is certain that he's being seduced, his pounding the window in the church, the final bus sequence. These images are powerful in their simplicity and in the simplicity of the statement that they convey. They say that Benjamin is controlled by the world at the beginning, tends towards solitude in the middle, and at the end learns to care about others.
It's a fantastic movie with well-devised characters that's been ripped off more times than one can count. I highly recommend it.
See it for:
- The Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack
- The classic lines and images
- Mr. Feeney as a young man
Rating: Five out of five stars