College is an interesting time period for young adults. Its when most of us find out who we are going to be in life. Some find out much later than others, but its all about getting there. The journey of self discovery is sometimes the whole story. Mike Nichols understands young adult angst better than anyone, which is why today I will be recommending two of his best works, The Graduate (1967) and Carnal Knowledge (1971). These sexy, yet emotionally gripping films are a great watch and I feel that they make for a smoothly transitional double feature.
The Graduate is my favorite film. I watched it my freshman year of college and it just spoke to me in a way no other film had ever spoken to me before. It’s like everything I had been feeling at the time had been encapsulated in a 106 minute time span. I try to watch it at least once and year and I recommend it to my friends as often as I can.
I saw Carnal Knowledge more recently and it instantly became one of my favorite Jack Nicholson performances. The then-young actor just explodes with talent and steals every single scene he’s in. It’s totally his movie, but his fellow cast-mates don’t lag behind in the slightest. Everyone plays their parts perfectly.
I hope you check out these great films!
The Graduate (1967)
5/5| Drama| Romance| 1hr 46m
Director: Mike Nichols
Screenplay: Calder Willingham, Buck Henry
Cinematography: Robert Surtees
The movie that put Dustin Hoffman on the map. The Graduate follows Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) a recent college graduate who begins an affair with his much older family friend Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bencroft), only to later begin dating her daughter (Katharine Ross) with whom he shares the same age. With a killer soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel and the cozy feeling of film grain, this movie examines youthful impulse and the many ways it causes us to end up in complex situations we can’t handle. Not to mention an ending that will have you sitting motionless in your seat for several minutes.
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
4/5| Drama| Romance| 1hr 38m
Director: Mike Nichols
Screenplay: Jules Feiffer
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
A rare film that explores both sides of toxic masculity. The story follows Sandy (Art Garfunkel), a passive ball of dull who idolizes women to an annoying degree and Jonathan (Jack Nicholson), your least favorite frat bro who objectifies women to cringe-inducing extremes. Each man cannot sustain a successful relationship with women because they are selfish and lack empathy, therefore never being able to fully develop connections beyond carnal knowledge. With powerhouse performances this film made for a great follow up to The Graduate.