‘Dead Poets Society’ timeless

April 8, 2011 Review Print Print
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Carpe diem; that is the main theme in the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society.”

The ovie tells the story of a group of boys attending Welton Academy, a prep school, in the late 1950s. They are influenced by their crazy but passionate new English teacher, John Keating, an alumnus of Welton.

On the first day of class, Keating, played by veteran actor Robin Williams, makes a lasting first impression on his students by asking them to rip out the first page of their textbooks.

Keating further intrigues students by instructing them to refer to him as “Oh Captain, my Captain!”

Todd Anderson, a new student to Welton, is first intimidated by Keating and his unusual way of doing things, but is soon enough brought out of his shell.

During a class period in which Anderson has failed to complete an assignment, Keating calls Anderson to the front of the class.

He places his hands over Anderson’s eyes, forcing him to improvise a poem from whatever comes to mind and to face his worst fear of public speaking.

Later on, the boys secretly revive a poetry group called the Dead Poets Society, in which Keating was a member when he attended Welton.

The boys meet in a cave to read poetry and practice stategies they believe will “woo” women.

While Keating’s unconventional teaching methods inspire the group of young men, they fail to please school officials and cause much controversy.

When Neil Perry, the leader of the group, reveals he is an aspiring actor, Keating helps Neil by encouraging him to apply for the school production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Despite Neil’s father’s demand for him to drop out and focus on becoming a doctor, Neil goes through with the performance, playing the main character. When tragedy strikes later, Keating gets the blame and is fired from Welton.

Not only is this movie filled with intense moments and great humor, but also it has a positive message: seize the day and make the most of life because “each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die.”

This classic tearjerker will have viewers contemplating their own lives and questioning why we are really put on this earth.

“But the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Rating: A

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