Dead Poets Society (1989)
Running Time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Peter Weir
Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles
Dead Poets Society is a film set in the 50s in a prep school called Welton Academy in New England. Todd Anderson (Hawke) who is painfully shy have to live up to his older brother’s reputation to become a lawyer, and the film starts with Todd arriving in Welton for the new semester. He then meets his roommate, Neil Perry (Leonard), an ambitious student but is constantly under pressure set by his father who wishes for him to be a doctor one day. In contrast to the conventional teaching styles, the boys have a chance to experience something different when they meet Mr. Keating (Williams), the new English teacher in Welton. Mr. Keating encourages the students to seize the day, “Carpe diem” and one day, the boys find out that Mr. Keating, an alum of Welton, listed “Dead Poets Society” as one of his extracurricular activities. The society is a secret club that encourages the members to live their lives meaningfully, so the boys decided to form one of their own and start to meet up to discuss poetry, and so on.
There’s a reason why this movie is a classic. The storyline, especially the script, is filled with memorable lines, and the writer did a fantastic job in introducing the environment and the students, and Mr. Keating, before bringing the audience along with the boys as they grow closer together, and gradually begin to find their own paths. It is truly a heartwarming story. The cast, Robin Williams did an amazing job as the inspiring teacher who challenges his students to push the boundaries of conformity, and the boys, the seven main actors, who were all around 19 years old when they acted in this, did a wonderful job in convincing the audience of their plight and their search for their own routes in life. Weir did well in capturing audiences’ attention and bringing them along for a ride, and keeping up with the momentum of it all. And I think his decision to shoot the film chronologically truly helped with the performances of the actors.
Overall, this is truly a classic, a beautiful film, filled with heartfelt moments, and simply inspiring.
Rating: 7 ½ out of 10