Dead Poets Society
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In an age defined by crew cuts, sport coats, and cheerless conformity, he not only broke the mold ... he reinvented it. Academy Award(R) winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, GOOD WILL HUNTING, 1997) delivers an extraordinary performance in one of the most compelling motion pictures of all time. Williams stars as English professor John Keating, a passionate iconoclast who changes his students' lives forever when he challenges them to live life to the fullest and "Carpe Diem" -- seize the day! Keating's unconventional approach meets with irrepressible enthusiasm from his students, but the faculty at staid, exclusive Welton Academy prep school is, to put it mildly, not amused. Featuring a star-marking performance by Ethan Hawke and over three hours of never-before-seen bonus materials, this Special Edition of DEAD POETS SOCIETY will captivate and inspire you again and again.
Robin Williams stars as an English teacher who doesn't fit into the conservative prep school where he teaches, but whose charisma and love of poetry inspires several boys to revive a secret society with a bohemian bent. The script is well meaning but a little trite, though director Peter Weir (The Truman Show) adds layers of emotional depth in scenes of conflict between the kids and adults. (A subplot involving one father's terrible pressure on his son--played by Robert Sean Leonard--to drop his interest in theater reaches heartbreaking proportions.) Williams is given plenty of latitude to work in his brand of improvisational humor, though it is all well-woven into his character's style of instruction. --Tom Keogh
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On the movie itself. I remember seeing this movie at a very opportune time in my life. It was summer of 1990 and I was months away from entering an all-boys high school. Nothing like this in which you have dorm rooms and such but still all-boy, Catholic with a dress code of casual suit attire. I remember not believing the absurd conformity rules the school in this movie (Welton) expected its students to adhere to.
Of course I was rudely awakened my first half year of school. Thankfully this movie allowed me to keep my sanity in such an environment. The acting in this movie is so free and natural you forget you are watching a movie and think more of just watching normal kids going through their high-school years. Schools need more teachers like Mr. Keating no matter how infuriating they may be to the "main stream" faculty.
Watch this movie to set your heart and mind free of society's norms and let yourself imagine the eternal question, "What if?"
To people like myself who are not living the life that exists in their dreams every scene with the eccentric Mr. Keating and the young boys of this private school serves as a canvas of self-examination for this viewer because I saw myself in each of these young people. Many of them wanted something other than the status quo, but struggled to break free from the roles that their immediate society cast upon them.
If this personal examination takes place, certain questions emerge such as: what are we so afraid of? If we died tomorrow would we be happy with the life that we have lead. In the two-three weeks since I watched this film, I can tell you that if you answer a resounding no to the above questions, you need to reexamine your life and if a movie can start the process, then it must be a powerful experience.
I thought it was interesting that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were turned down for roles in this movie but then did Good Will Hunting. That said, the actors, all of them were terrific. Ethan Hawke said the scene where Robin, as his teacher, helps him express himself in the classroom, made him want to act, he chased the thrill of that scene from that point on. I must say, it was one of my favorite scenes also and I teared up watching it again.
Whether you are a Robin Williams fan or not, I recommend this movie for a very good, touching story.