A MUST READ at TakiMag:
Continuing my intermittent series reinterpreting American history, it’s worth reconsidering what The Graduate was actually about. Looking back from nearly a half-century later, The Graduate seems less like a landmark in the short-lived Generation Gap and more of a milestone in the long-lasting Ethnic Gap.
There’s very little in the film to situate it in the 1960s hippie/protest/drug era. Young Benjamin, for example, wears a coat and tie throughout. Much of the popular image of The Graduate appears to be a projection of Baby Boomers who were then hungry for any kind of cinematic affirmation. (…)
In fact, Benjamin, with his flat affect, appears to be not quite right in the head. (…)
In retrospect, Benjamin Braddock seems like Hoffman’s beta release of his Oscar-winning portrayal of autistic Raymond Babbitt in 1988’s Rain Man.
Before his unexpected stardom, Hoffman had made ends meet working as an attendant at the New York Psychiatric Institute, so he had some hands-on familiarity with actual mental disabilities rather than the fanciful ones discussed by the patients of expensive Freudian shrinks.