A Political Science Viewpoint on the Film The Graduate

halfling By halfling, 11th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Drama

An essay from my Film and Politics class about the movie The Graduate.

A Political Science Viewpoint on the Film The Graduate

The filmmaker for The Graduate is presenting a setting in upper class America. We can see this in not only the house that the Braddock’s own, with its luxury items like a backyard pool; but also in the gifts that are bestowed upon Ben for his graduation from college. Not every family can afford to send their son to a good school and then purchase him a car as a graduation present; this helps to set the movie into a certain class of people. This film covers the family and social ills and pressures of this group of people.

It would seem that The Graduate is written to vilify the wayward college graduate. There is virtually nothing in the film that he does to show any worth in himself. While he does initially protest Mrs. Robinson’s advanced it has far more to do with the fear of being caught then of the appropriateness of the action. This is made even more manifest by his calling her to arrange the start of the affair, which becomes a nightly occurrence.

Though on a deeper analysis, the film portrays the upper class of American culture in a negative light. From Mrs. Robinson’s adultery and failed marriage all the way to the way the Robinson’s hurriedly marry off Elaine to protect her from Ben there is precious little good shown by any of the characters. Even the Braddock’s are not free from fault, they allow their sons lack of ambition to continue under their roof, even when his mother knows that he is lying about his evenings out there is nothing done to stop it. And further into the ills portrayed in this movie there is nothing done to prevent Ben’s following Elaine and stalking her while in college, even though Mr. Braddock is well aware that Elaine is not in on Ben’s plans of marriage. While the other characters in the movie do find Ben’s actions to be unusual and even obvious, most of them do not seem offended or put off by them either. This is just another part of the process as putting the well-to-do into a place of shame.

While the politics of the movie are not as obvious as in other films, they are there in an underlying tone. The primary message the filmmaker seems to be trying to get across is the corruptness of those who have. Presumably this makes a statement about the gluttony of our society, which in turn is a negative statement about the political choices that allow those that have money to live in such an irresponsible fashion rather then leading the country forward like one might think they should.


Movies, Political, Political Science, The Graduate

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author avatar halfling
I am a busy mother of two school aged children. I have a great husband and work full time. I am an Excel and Internet addict, I also play RPGs, sew costuming and work in my yard.

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