Roger Ebert?? ROGER EBERT!?!? ::: cough, cough cough :::
… proving, I guess, that merely surviving long enough in a field is a credential, despite absence of any other critical faculties.
I read the Ebert review you cited, and seems to me he’s writing more about himself and his reactions (then and now, as he has aged but the movie remains unchanged) then about the movie.
Mark Estrin and Wayne Schuth comment, in the very wonderful Film Directors Encyclopedia, edited by Andrew Sarris, that Dustin Hoffman’s character “is the moralistic spokesman for a generation that mistrusted anyone over thirty and vowed never to go into plastics.” No doubt that THE GRADUATE was a social satire, and no doubt that the society being satirized is no more. An 18-year old sleeping with his friend’s mother is no longer shocking – heck, the 18-year old male sleeping with his friend’s FATHER would no longer be shocking. Those societal norms are long dead, at least in terms of the entertainment industry. Does that make the film obsolete?
I don’t think so – the world of CITIZEN KANE or of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE or of Charlie Chaplin are also long gone. Those works also satirize the society of their times, and yet are enjoyed today.
IMHO, THE GRADUATE retains its importance in film history, and as social satire. Those with no feeling for history, of course, will reject such rationale – if it’s not got the latest special effects, octophonic sound, flaming colour and widescreen, it’s not worthwhile. I weep for such people.