An English teacher at a prestigious prep school uses poetry to
teach his students to take control of their own lives and be happy.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Tom Schulman
Starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke,
Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Dylan Kussman, Allelon Ruggiero,
James Waterston, Norman Lloyd, Kurtwood Smith
Oscar Wins - Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Robin Williams),
There are movies that come and go and there are movies that stick around because they're worth a laugh or a scare. Every once and a while, though, there are movies with the staying power to touch the hearts of future generations. I don't think these movies should be taken lightly because of how rare they truly are. They can shape our minds and our futures. They can influence the way we look at the world around us. They can bring to light things you never considered about yourself. Dead Poets Society is one such movie. Watching it for the first time brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I don't think I'll ever look at poetry the same way again.
Dead Poets Society tells the story of a group of young teens at a highly prestigious prep school where their futures have been decided years in advance. They have no control over their destinies and most of them resent their parents for mapping out their entire adult life. Then, they encounter the unconventional teaching methods of English teacher John Keating, played magnificently by the legendary Robin Williams in what is easily one of his best performances. Through Keating's lessons, these kids learn the value of the written word and the power it has to bring out the happiness and potential within each one of them. They use Keating's ideologies to reform a secret social club called the Dead Poets Society, which they use to get away from it all and be themselves if only for a little while.
The entire film is virtually flawless, particularly the second half which is so gut-wrenching and unexpected that it caused me to scream at my television. The events of the second half show the unfortunate consequences of a parent's totalitarian control over their child and turn this film from a coming-of-age dramedy to a full-blown poignant drama. It only adds to the greatness of this remarkable film that inspires you to want to take action in your own life. Do as Keating says and seize the day! Dead Poets Society taught me the importance of individuality in your life and that there can be only one you. It's up to you to show the world why you are here, and only you can make yourself be remembered for who you are.