Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Here's to you, Mister Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman is eighty-years-old. 
Dustin - say it isn't so.

Baby Boomers around the globe worship your legacy - your brave, outrageous career where you stepped out - risked much - and led us into our maturity.

As Michael Dorsey in Tootsie - you exposed an artist brave enough to lampoon his feminine side.

As Ted Kramer, in Kramer vs. Kramer - you challenged other men to reexamine their ability to nurture, to settle for the glories of domesticity.

And no one else could have exposed the complexities  of Raymond Babbitt as did you in Rain Man.  

The world honors your excessive and grand talent - but if these allegations are true, none of that will matter.  History will forget your artistry and remember you as a dirty old man.

That's what I do not understand.  You're not a B list guy - - not a "made for TV" Hollywood guy.

You're Hoffman, for god's sake.  And I cannot fathom you jeopardizing your lionized legacy around someone's seventeen-year-old child?

Perhaps you did.  Perhaps the one role wherein you learned the least was  the one you played in The Graduate.  

Benjamin Braddock, the confused, undirected, privileged and bored son of privilege, graduates from college and finds himself seduced by the corrupt, cynical and alcoholic Missus Robinson.

Closing scene THE GRADUATE. Katherine Ross and Dustin Hoffman.
Film buffs called The Graduate the iconic film of the 1960's generation - an exquisite denial of materialism and remarkable affirmation of innocence and love.

Katherine Ross played the classy beauty to your delightful Benjamin; a boy who found himself trapped and lured by sophisticated evil and yet, redeemed himself.

The films closing scene has been called the moment that launched our generation.  Idealistic - hopeful - courageous enough to disrupt, Benjamin grew from a boy into a man of consequence.

You - anddarling Katherine, still in her wedding gown - board the bus to this question from the driver.

"Where to?" he asks.

"To the end," you answer.

I believed you then, and - even though I'm a feminist - I believe you now.

Prove me right, Dustin.  Show us we're not fools to love you.  Show us you learned something from the roles you assumed.

Take it to the end.