Dead Poets Society — Movie Review #JPMN

This Peter Weir drama film was released in
June of 1989, which shares the seemingly uncomplicated story of an English teacher who inspires his
students with poetry. Produced on a budget of $16-million, the PG-rated film would score
four Oscar nominations, and $220 million in profit. In his second nominated performance,
Robin Williams is graceful as the kind, patient, and motivational leader… who instructs his
adolescent troops to “make life extraordinary”, and “seize the day.” Robert Sean Leonard,
Ethan Hawke, John Charles, and a dozen other young actors make up the group of prep school
students at the elite Welton Academy, who overcome their hesitations and begin craving
everything life has to offer… by throwing parties, reading sonnets, and reveling in
each other’s camaraderie. Weir even had the young actors all room together during production,
to strengthen their on-screen chemistry. And it certainly worked, their charm and eagerness
make their characters easy, and believable to root for. Meanwhile, Norman Lloyd and Kurtwood
Smith play older gentlemen, who despite being reasonable in their own actions, only serve
as an obstacle for the growing desires of the teens. A confrontational scene between
Leonard and Smith, as father and son, is particularly powerful, bordering on difficult-to-watch
a times. It’s easy to empathize with the dutiful child, afraid to disappoint a loving father
who doesn’t understand what his son really wants. It goes without saying that both individuals
give brilliant performances in that scene, as well. The unrushed narrative unwinds throughout
a single-school year, as we learn more and more about these interesting and nuanced characters.
Without any showy cinematography, action scenes, or memorable music… the entire 128-minute
picture rests on its writing and characters: and thankfully, the film more than excels
here. This is light-hearted, but serious look at adolescence, self-discovery, and challenging
authority. The marvelous script gives us insight into their fictional lives, but what makes
the film stand out is how it allows, and practically asks the audience to reflect on their own
lives. The qualities these men embody will surely resonate… when you wonder if you’re
doing enough to make your own life extraordinary. A wonderful, moving, and uplifting experience
that should be required viewing for all students, I loved this film when I first saw it in my
early twenties… and still do today. “Dead Poets Society” only gets better with age,
and I strongly consider it to be an AWESOME film.

10 Replies to “Dead Poets Society — Movie Review #JPMN

  1. Thanks Robin for all the drama and laughter. Your Legacy will never be forgotten and will live on forever. You are a comedic genius and a wonderful gentle person. R.I.P. 

  2. nice review, was just wondering what you thought was wrong with the film, and why it isn't a 10/10 instead of a 9/10?

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