Structural Elements In The Film 'The Graduate'

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Mike Nichols 1967 film ‘The Graduate’ is a comedy that illustrates a three-act film structure and includes the major structural elements. The film depicts a recent college graduate (Dustin Hoffman), whose feeling of a lack of purpose results in his life becoming dominated by his relationship with Mrs. Robinson and eventually, her daughter Elaine. Act I establishes the key characters; Benjamin, his parents and their friends, including, Mrs. Robinson. It feels as though Benjamin is on a different planet to the others, and for that we are sympathetic towards him and want to see how things will play out; this act includes both the inciting incident and plot point one. Act II, includes the midpoint where Benjamin comes to terms with his feelings …show more content…
Benjamin’s nerves and uncertainty as to what to do in the situation is further emphasised in Hoffman's performance, his eyes are moving, non-stop, looking at her eyes, then her body, then off into the distance repeatedly, while Mrs. Robinson on the other hand is collected. Despite his nervousness, it is clear that Benjamin finds Mrs. Robinson attractive; he has to force himself to look away from her. Thus, the audience can comprehend his interest in her and the problem that this puts forth. A juxtaposition between the two characters is seen in the dialogue also, while Mrs. Robinson remains a mono-tonal, assertive and dominant in her speech, Benjamin repeats himself and curses highlighting weakness and inability to comprehend her proposal at this point in the film. This hooks the audience in posing the question of whether or not he will. There is no non-diegetic sound in this scene, the only other diegetic sound heard is Mr. Robinson’s car pulling up which not only suggests the risk of being caught but also foreshadows the idea that there is only limited time before Mr. Robinson finds out; thus the inciting incident is inextricably tied to the second plot

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