Beth's Blockbuster Blog - Dead Poets Society
I was lucky enough to have the privilege to watch this film a few weeks ago in the Everett Theater, the theater used in the film as the stage for the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Not every day you get to watch a movie in one of the locations where it was filmed. And what a movie to get to see on actual film.
This film was the first time we got to see a more serious Robin Williams, and it shows how broad his acting talents go. He fits the role perfectly of the not so serious John Keating at the very serious Welton Academy. The prestigious boarding school gets a change-up when he decides to teach from the heart instead of a textbook, and you can see how genuine Williams' performance is when he's trying to inspire his students.
Robert Sean Leonard's first starring role was in this film as Neil Perry, the unofficial leader of the new Dead Poets Society. His character growth and struggle is tremendous, and Leonard does a great job at showcasing the pain and stress of dealing with such disapproving parents and the despair caused by being told he couldn't be himself. He is the perfect counter to Ethan Hawke's Todd Anderson, his shy roommate.
Hawke's Todd mirrors Neil's journey into self-discovery, but unlike Neil, his isn't a tragedy. Thanks to Keating, he realizes his potential and opens up to new possibilities. Hawke shows great growth as he becomes one of the boys and comes into his own.
Tom Schulman's Oscar-winning script is the real star on display in this film. These actors are given some beautiful monologues and moments partially based on Schulman's own experiences at an all boys school in Tennessee. The actions of the students feel more natural than some, as it's based on a true story rather than some random script writer writing another school story. Plus, to know that there is a teacher like John Keating out there is reassuring.
This film is one of the most inspirational films you can find, as Keating's message is universal to all: Carpe Diem, seize the day. To get to experience this film again knowing these actors once brought their energy to the same theater was such a magical opportunity that I will be forever grateful for. So, be yourself and happy watching!