Scene Analysis: The Graduate

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The Graduate
The sequence that I have chosen for analysis is the scene after the party and Dustin is moping in his room, until he puts his hand in the fish tank to pull out his keys.

The scene begins with Mrs. Robinson bursting in on Benjamin. The sound of the door is quite loud in the small space, making it much more intrusive than it might normally have been and possibly drawing a metaphor about her entry not just into his room but into his private life. Her voice is totally calm and she shows no reaction whatsoever for having invaded his space. In terms of the composition of the elements in the shot, this scene begins with Dustin Hoffman staring into his fish tank. His face appears to be totally submerged in the tank as the
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Robinson is in the room. This could be because the director wanted to call attention to the awkwardness during this entire exchange. However later, when music is introduced, i.e. once Benjamin takes her home, it becomes slightly shocking and out of place, signaling to the audience that something unusual is about to happen. Thus the use of silence is used to draw attention to the awkwardness that Hoffman feels and the confidence that Mrs. Robinson feels.

American Beauty

The scene selected from American beauty introduces the audience to Lester, a 42 year old man who appears to be living the American dream at first. The scene begins with a wide aerial view of the neighborhood that Lester lives in. The neighborhood looks like any middle class suburb in America and I believe that’s the point the director wanted to make with this movie. He wants to show that the events in the film are tied to the middle class American dream and that Lester is not the only one that has these feelings.

The film uses Lester as a narrative voice over. We have to assume that the narrative Lester is not the same Lester that we are actually watching because this one is omniscient. It knows that Lester is going to die in a years’ time. So essentially the movie is a flash back, it’s the story of how a man comes from where he currently is in a middle class suburban neighborhood to the point of his

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