The Graduate (1967) – “Mrs. Robinson are you
trying to seduce me?” Dustin Hoffman plays a recent college graduate suffering from summer listlessness and ambivalence to what is expected next of him in life. This enables his middle-aged neighbor, Mrs. Robinson, to ensnare him in a emotionless affair. Hoffman finally awakens to realize that he wants more out of life and love after meeting Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Penny. Mrs. Robinson becomes jealous of her daughters youth and Hoffman’s change in affections, sending her daughter into the same lifeless marriage she has been forced to suffer. Hoffman rescues Penny from her nuptials in a not so subtle attempt to save them both from the life of their parents.
Mrs. Robinson is clearly looking for her own sexual revolution after being stuck in a loveless marriage, and sets her sights on a young and innocent man to help release her. But for all her aggressiveness and sexual assertion, it becomes obvious she is failing to create the emotional connection she is really craving. Not until her daughter steals the affection of Hoffman, does she resent her daughters emotional liberation free from her own social constructs. Her resentment sends her daughter to the alter with a man, who we assume will result in the same type of marriage Mrs. R had to endure. Misery loves company. Director: Mike Nichols (Subject: Drama, Wedding, Sex, Relationships)