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"Dead Poets Society" Movie Review

Updated on July 29, 2015

"Dead Poets Society" Premise

Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) is very shy and bright and has been sent to where his more popular older brother went to school. His friend Neil is also bright but is under the control of his father completely. Todd, Neil and their other friends they become inspired by their new English teacher , Professor John Keating (Robin Williams). He tells them of the Dead Poets Society and encourages them to go against the status quo.

"Dead Poets Society" Main Cast

Professor John Keating played by Robin Willliams

Todd Anderson played by Ethan Hawke

Neil Perry played by Robert Sean Leonard

Knox Overstreet played by Josh Charles

Charlie Dalton played by Gale Hansen

Richard Cameron played by Dylan Kussman

Steven Meeks played by Allelon Ruggiero

Gerard Pitts played by James Waterston

Mr. Nolan played by Norman Lloyd

Mr. Perry played by Kurtwood Smith

Mrs. Perry played by Carla Belver

Chris Noel played by Alexandra Powers


"Dead Poet's Society" Quotables

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" -Professor John Keating

"Oh captain, my captain!" -Todd Anderson

"The point, Charlie... is... that she was thinking about me. I've only met her once, and already she's thinking about me." -Knox

"For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I'm gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!" -Neil

"Gentlemen, what are the Four Pillars? (Dalton askes) 'Travesty, Horror, Decadence, and Excrement.'" -Dalton, Meeks, Neil, Knox, and Todd

5 stars for Dead Poets Society

My Review of "Dead Poets Society"

"Dead Poets Society" is a movie I only recently saw for the first time. I've often heard people say how it changed their life or how it has a really great script, full of quotable inspiring tidbits. I'm not especially sure why it took so long for me to see this movie. It may be that my parents didn't own it when I was younger or that it's not easy to find in most retail stores. Needless, I rented it from Netflix after Robin Williams passed away and only received it recently because there was a large wait for the movie as many people were renting it in the wake of his death.

After watching it I believe that "Dead Poets Society" is hands down my favorite movie of all time. It's inspiring in a way that opens your mind to the infinite possibilities of what any of us can become and reminds the viewer of that one teacher that really put effort into their teaching that really connected with you. I suppose it could be considered pretentious by some viewers, but I like movies that put effort into being deep rather than shallow. I hate movies that leave me feeling brain dead after watching them. Even if a movie may be pretentious as a result of adding more layers to it and more thought-provoking material I can't help loving this type of movie. It's a shame Hollywood doesn't create more movies that leave you feeling enlightened and empowered about your life.

The Acting

I'm shocked that Robin Williams didn't win an Oscar for his role as Professor John Keating. There's rarely great teachers shown in movies. I'm not sure why they aren't highlighted enough, while terrible teacher characters get a lot more screen time. Every scene John Keating is in he says something that makes you smile. The serious scenes he has are as wonderfully acted as his more lighthearted moments. There's two serious scenes involving Professor Keating and Neil interacting where it's completely clear on Professor Keating's face what he's thinking. He looks sad, aware that Neil lied about saying he talked to his father about his love for acting, and also sympathetic to Neil. I just loved the character of Professor Keating, not only because I found the character himself inspiring but because he reminds me of my favorite teacher of my school career. My middle school history teacher would incorporate humor into his history lectures and he had a great way of giving us strange ways to remember historic dates when we were studying. I respected this teacher a great deal and he was one of the few teachers I had who understood I was just naturally a quiet person, while many of my teachers thought I was an idiot. I appreciate that he tried to get me out of my shell and I think his class was the one class I was a little more relaxed and volunteered to read out loud from the textbook on occasion.

Todd Anderson played by Ethan Hawke was a triumph to me. There are very, very few characters who are quiet in movies and when they are present they are often treated poorly by the other characters. I appreciated Todd because I was a very quiet and sometimes a shy person when I was younger. It was sometimes torturous to speak out loud and I often hated authority figures who would try bossing me around to do things because they thought I was weak since I was quiet. I typically only have a few friends I really open up to at a time even now. I prefer having close friends and not disposable friends. The friendship between Todd and Neil is very similar to most of my friendships. I think Ethan Hawke was wonderful as the character and I loved how even though he didn't have that many lines he left an impact even with only a few lines.

The character Neil Perry played by Robert Sean Leonard is so hopeful, exhilarating, and full of secret pain. He's a memorable character and well performed by Robert Sean Leonard. I felt cold fear from Robert's acting during one particularly important scene. The character Neil struggles from an overbearing father who wants to dictate his son's entire life. While having a father who wants you to succeed and wants to help you succeed at life is a good thing, having a father who doesn't care what you want and wants you to do what he wants does not make for a healthy family dynamic. Neil's whole story is a cautionary tale on how it's good to want to have your kid's succeed but also listening to what they want to do with their life. Every parent should try to listen to their kid about what they enjoy doing.

The rest of the cast do wonderfully in their respective characters.

The Script

The script is full, I mean full, of inspiring messages. There's so many quotes from this movie that are marvelous. It's somewhat like "Forrest Gump" in that regard. I don't think this movie script was based off of a book, but it would make a great novel just as it makes a great movie, which is sadly not always the case with movie scripts which are often times more shallowly written. "Dead Poets Society" is certainly not shallow and has quite a lot of depth and personality to it's script.

The Cinematography

The cinematography seemed excellently done in "Dead Poets Society" There's one scene that's very movie where one of the father's of the boys says: "What was that sound?" at the beginning of the scene. The audience doesn't hear the sound, and only hears him ask the question. It leaves a feeling of quiet unease that really packs a lot of fear onto the viewer. So many movies today always incorporate too much sound that this scene really frightened me. The fact that they chose to cut out the sound and just have the father ask after it made it that much more frightening because the audience doesn't know what the sound was. The rest of the filming is basically done. There's thankfully none of those way too close close-ups of the actor's faces. Everything was framed nicely and cleanly.

Who Will Like "Dead Poets Society"

If you enjoyed the movies: "About a Boy", "Forrest Gump", "Good Will Hunting", "The Great Gatsby", "Reality Bites", and "Boyhood" you will likely enjoy watching "Dead Poets Society".

Favorite Serious Acting Role Performed by Robin Williams

Favorite Serious Acting Role Performed by Robin Williams

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    • sandeep15r profile image

      Sandeep Rathore 

      3 years ago from New Delhi

      Great movie!

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I remember seeing this movie like it was yesterday. Loved it and it holds up as well today. I never see it on any on "Top" lists, but it should be there. Great acting. Many of the starts went on to impressive careers. Nice review. Voted up and shared.


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