The Graduate and Rumor Has It

#s 44 and 45 in my movie challenge for the year were, respectively, The Graduate and Rumor Has It. The Graduate is not long, but moves slow. My dad and mom saw this while she was pregnant with me, so apparently I experienced the film pretty young. Our movie book review says it’s uneven because the director, Mike Nichols, couldn’t decide whether it was social satire or farce. I think it works better as the former, because the elements of farce take away empathy for the characters. Bancroft was 36 when it was released, Hoffman was 30, so hardly young enough to be her son. I think it’s most memorable for his performance, which contains the humorous, nebbishy tics more familiar from his later roles. He turned down the Gene Wilder role in The Producers to do The Graduate, and the role made him a star.

Rumor Has It is a riff on The Graduate. Aniston plays a girl who discovers that her family was the basis for the Robinsons in The Graduate, so she seeks out Costner to find out if he’s her father. Maclaine, as the “real” Mrs. Robinson, steals every scene she’s in. Costner is believably charming, though his artfully mussed hair is an expensive variation on a combover. It’s billed as a comedy; while lightweight, it’s more bittersweet. It also had that rare character–a good father, played well by Richard Jenkins of Six Feet Under. I enjoyed it more for having watched The Graduate. It got poor reviews, but I enjoyed it.

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