Here's to You Mrs. Robinson: Movie

Mrs. Robinson
Mrs. Robinson | Source

Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate

That line is from the Simon & Garfunkel song written for the movie The Graduate.Their hit song is different than the one heard in the Graduate since the one in the movie was only the chorus. It seems Simon didn’t have time to write the whole song for the movie because Simon & Garfunkel were touring. He did manage to write the chorus for the movie and finished the song later.If you listen closely you will hear that the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics are just the chorus in The Graduate.The entire song offers ‘forgiveness’ to Mrs. Robinson but refers only to her drug or marijuana use – “hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes.”The affair Simon & Garfunkel refer to is that ‘use’ and her hiding it from the kids.So who is the Simon & Garfunkel Mrs. Robinson song really about?It is believed it was written for Eleanor Roosevelt thus “Going to the candidates debate. Laugh about it, shout about it. When you've got to choose. Every way you look at it, you lose."Though the movie may have been about the affair between an older woman and younger man, the song was more about the 60s, more than even Mrs. Roosevelt or Mrs. Robinson.

The movie, The Graduate is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Charles Webb.Webb never received any money from the film and preferred it that way as he felt the movie was demeaning to his artistic stature.The screenplay was written by Buck Henry.It is listed as a comedy/drama/romance but no matter what you call it or how you view it Mrs. Robinson stole the show!

Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) in the Graduate
Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) in the Graduate | Source

The movie Mrs. Robinson provides us with a very interesting character.We all know Mrs. Robinson is the mother of the girlfriend, who seduces the boyfriend.Got that?Actually she is the wife of Benjamin’s father’s business partner.They meet at a party at Benjamin’s house and she asks him to driver her home.Problems arise as he is drawn into an affair with Mrs. Robinson but then falls in love with her daughter Elaine.Who can forget the scene in The Graduate when Benjamin stands in the back of the church at Elaine’s wedding and screams out Elaine while banging on the glass!The movie became so popular because it epitomized the confused youth of the 60s, unsure what they were going to do with their future but not turning to drugs like many others did.There’s also the ‘swinging 60s’ thing and wife-swapping, thus Mrs. Robinson.This was definitely a movie for the 60s as you delve more into its meaning and relate it to its time.

Benjamin is a pretty confused and boring young man until he meets Mrs. Robinson. He has just graduated from college and has no idea what he wants to do with his life except float around in a swimming pool.His parents are pushy and just drive him away.Mrs. Robinson is a beautiful older woman who is very sure of herself and bored with her life.She is an alcoholic and a very unpleasant wife.Did she seduce Benjamin because she was interested in him in particular or was it because she was just bored with her life?Did she seduce him just to have sex?All thoughts for speculation.Her redeeming quality is her love for her daughter, however that love doesn’t include control.After a series of ups and downs Benjamin realizes he loves Elaine and she realizes she loves him too.He confesses his affair to Elaine and she leaves to go back to school.Mrs. Robinson lives during a time when divorce was not a popular option and has to deal with her life the best she can. She knows her life is at a dead end.She wants a better life for Elaine and maybe she’s a little jealous of Elaine so she tells Elaine it’s too late for her actually meaning it’s too late for Mrs. Robinson but Elaine knows better and replies it’s not too late for her.In spite of her marital situation Mrs. Robinson remains in control of her life.She attempts to control Benjamin, which she does for a while, and Elaine, which she also does for a while, but in the end she loses.

There are those that saw the film that think of Mrs. Robinson as being a very sexy married woman with a daughter.Not many mothers fit that bill back in 1967 when The Graduate came out, or rather I guess I should say there were not many women who thought they fit the bill at that time.At the beginning of the seduction Benjamin says to Mrs. Robinson, “… I think, I think you're the most attractive of all my parents' friends.”Of course to push the envelope, at one point Mrs. Robinson says to Benjamin, “Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?”

One review of The Graduate by Eric Caers included the following lines:

“Mrs. Robinson is the epitome of the devil-may-care LA bourgeoisie and represents the darker side of America's American Dream that is sedated by pills, desensitized by liquor, mind dulled by television, sanitized by the latest Tupperware and gleaming colors to sugarcoat the humdrum of suburban life.”

Not many film characters have influenced society like Mrs. Robinson.Her character and actions at the time were shocking to most people, but liberating to others.Association with the Mrs. Robinson character can still be found today in many areas.There are people that look at Mrs. Robinson as an inspiration.Personally, when I first saw The Graduate I was shocked at Mrs. Robinson but there are those that look at her as a trailblazer for the rights of married women.Mrs. Robinson was the first “public” cougar!

There is actually a society named after Mrs. Robinson. Taken from their mission statement:

The Mrs. Robinson Society (MRS) is a movable social club and think tank for sophisticated, vibrant, fully evolved ladies of a certain ilk who enjoy openly sharing progressive ideas about art, culture, and personal relationships.

The appropriation of the term Mrs. Robinson is inspired by Ann Bancroft's iconic role in the The Graduate, and celebrates her character as a symbol of female independence for a new generation of married women.

At urbandictionary.com Mrs. Robinson is defined as “A term used to describe an older woman who likes to seduce younger men.” There is a lingerie line named after Mrs. Robinson.There is also a dating site, datemrsrobinson.com, where older women can hook up with younger men!

Iris Robinson, Ireland's Mrs. Robinson
Iris Robinson, Ireland's Mrs. Robinson

While The Graduate and Mrs. Robinson were fictitious in the ‘60s, in 2010 in Northern Ireland Mrs. Robinson, aged 59, had a very highly publicized affair with a 19 year old boy.It seems the wife of the First Minister of Northern Ireland (who was also a member of Parliament) agreed to look after the boy when his father died.She had frequented his butcher shop and knew the boy from the time he was in what Ireland calls primary school.Her concern for his well being led to an out and out affair.It seems there is a little more involved with the affair of this Mrs. Robinson, like a third party cash exchange that she did not report to Parliament.Money exchanged between them, from her to him to purchase a business, then from him to her…all very confusing and outrageous for the moralistic Protestant Northern Ireland.

Add to all the Mrs. Robinson(s) affairs the fact that society makes a really big deal out of an older woman with a younger man but when it’s an older man with a younger woman he gets cheers and congratulations! Maybe that’s why Mrs. Robinson (from The Graduate) became so popular and iconic!

“So, here’s to you Mrs. Robinson…..”

"Bringing you movies that are part of your memories."

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Comments 9 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Great hub on Mrs. Robinson. Wow the detail you have included in this hub is amazing. I just recently watched the movie again a couple weeks ago...a classic funny movie...with Hoffman in a star making role. I was unaware of the Mrs. Robinson Society (MRS) existed...and the first I am hearing about the Irish Mrs. Robinson....this hub is what the best hubs are about....an interesting, informative and fascinating read. Great job.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

Wow, thanks for the positive comment Cogerson. I liked the movie & character and enjoyed researching it. I'm glad you found it so enjoyable.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa

One of my all time favorite movies. Thanks for the fun read.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I never dreamed that this fine song had a connection to Eleanor Roosevelt.

I enjoyed your excellent anaylsis of the film.

Hey, this may be way off base but the thought just popped into my little pointed head that maybe Mrs. Robinson was the forerunner of today's epidemic of female teachers having sex with their students? :D


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York Author

You last point is well taken. It was a great film and easy to analyze.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

Great trip down memory lane. Really enjoyed this!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Writer, glad you stopped by.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

This is one of my favorite films and Mrs. Robinson´s song with Simon and Garfunkel is an amazing evergreen one. It reminds me of something that brings me back to my memory lanes. Great hub and SHARED.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Glad I could evoke good memories Thelma. I'm a Simon & Garfunkel fan from way back. Thanks for sharing.

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