The Graduate

One of Mike Nichols’s better films, though one suspects that the gargantuan commercial success it had back in 1967 had at least as much to do with the zeitgeist as with Nichols’s talent in popularizing certain French New Wave tropes and adapting the satiric manner of his old stand-up routines with Elaine May. Dustin Hoffman, in the performance that made his career, plays the disaffected title youth, coerced into an affair with a middle-aged woman (Anne Bancroft) while remaining smitten with her daughter (Katharine Ross). The light ribbing of conspicuous consumption in southern California and the Simon and Garfunkel songs on the sound track both play considerable roles in giving this depthless comedy some bounce. With Murray Hamilton, William Daniels, and Elizabeth Wilson. (JR)

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