Dead Poets Society movie cast: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard
Dead Poets Society movie director: Peter Weir
Dead Poets Society movie rating: 4 stars
I don’t know what it is about the teacher-student stories, they always get to me. They remind me of my days as a pupil, sitting in a class room; getting bored, annoyed, inspired. It is precisely this essence that the 1989 Peter Weir directorial Dead Poets Society captures perfectly.
The film is the right blend of nostalgia and inspiration. It stars the late and somewhat controversial Robin Williams as the English teacher John Keating (of course a transparent as the day twist in the name of poet John Keats) who whips up a frenzy with his unconventional methods of teaching. ‘Tear your notebook pages, jog down the garden, write your own poetry,’ these ideas are considered bohemian by the more reserved staff of the school. But it excites his new class.
Robert Sean Leonard as the enthusiastic and creative Neil Perry, Ethan Hawke as the reticent performer and a host of young and talented artistes traverse down the strange and alien path of teenage years and face their fears and misgivings. Watching a clique of teen boys dance to their own tune can be mundane (and to be fair, quite ridiculous) at times. However, it is the filmmaker’s vision and the clean, honest script-writing of Tom Schulman which saves this film from drowning in a mess of our preconceived notions (of what such a movie should entail).
The cultural impact of Dead Poets Society has been such that even today people can be heard quoting its lines — the most famous one being of course, “O Captain, My Captain” and it was Dead Poets Society that helped popularise the Latin term ‘Carpe Diem’ (seize the day).
Hollywood Rewind: Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
A right mentor can take you to greater heights and transform you and mould your thoughts and influences in an almost irrevocable fashion. Those ideas that take root in school never really leave you and this is why it is imperative to have the right kind of person to guide you. I have been lucky enough to have a couple of John Keatings in my days as a student. Here’s hoping that you did too, and if you didn’t, you can always turn to Peter Weir’s film for some insight and fun.
Dead Poets Society is available for streaming on YouTube.
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