“Dead Poets Society” Isn’t So Dead After All

Claire Kim, Staff Reporter

“Carpe, Carpe Diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” – Mr. Keating

“Dead Poets Society” is a film everyone should watch at least once in their life. Awarded the Oscar for Writing at the 62nd Academy Awards, “Dead Poets Society” is a classic stand-alone drama that continues to bring viewers to the screen today.

“Dead Poets Society” follows the story of seven students at Welton Academy, a conservative all-boys private school in Vermont. They prepare to endure the long, dull hours of school in which they would find themselves… until they meet their new English teacher, Mr. Keating. Mr. Keating opens the boys’ eyes to a whole new world, a world of “Carpe Diem” and “Seizing the Day”, and overall encourages them to find their own voice and angle. Inspired, each of the boys begin to pursue their wildest dreams, even when the school shows their disapproval… until a terrible tragedy hits and forces everyone to face reality. 

The plot of the film is well-developed, and inspiring in the way that a typical, strict private school can be turned upside down and moved by one person, a teacher devoted to having his students see beyond the walls of expectations and traditions to something beautiful and authentic. Of course, the tragedy that happens leaves viewers devastated, myself included. The ending especially is bittersweet but shows how realistic the plot is, and how Mr. Keating’s lessons affected and changed the boys’ lives.

All of the actors’ performances were amazing. Robin Williams played Mr. Keating perfectly, and Ethan Hawke delivered many emotions during the snow scene. I especially thought Robert Sean Leonard’s performance was wonderful, the way he expressed Neil’s emotions was deep and heartfelt. The chemistry between the actors was excellent, as well. I could tell they were all good friends and enjoyed spending time together, both on and off-set. 

John Seale is the cinematographer of the film. While watching, I was captivated by the many beautiful sceneries. They brought me a feeling of comfort. Some of my favorites were the forest scene, the flock of birds scene, and the football field scene. I particularly liked the scene in Mr. Keating’s classroom when Todd presents his poem and the way the camera spun around them in circles. I thought that was the perfect visual for the anxiety Todd was feeling and created the distressed impression of him trying to come up with the poem. 

“Dead Poets Society” is still relevant today because of the lessons it teaches and how realistic it is. Each character is deeply woven with their own personality, struggles, and dreams. I found myself relating to one in particular, and I’m sure other viewers can find themselves in these characters in one way or another as well. It’s raw, charismatic, and passionate, and at its core stands the idea of making your life extraordinary. I loved the way they incorporated poetry into it all, the film itself is like poetry. It gives the audience that sense of inspiration, to push through their hardships to achieve something incredible.

Overall, I love this film. From the plot to the acting to the cinematography, and to the music, everything combined makes for an emotional and stirring performance that easily hooks the audience from the very beginning. 

“Dead Poets Society” will make you laugh, smile, and cry, and the way the whole cast delivers their part is truly inspiring and makes you feel like you’re right there beside them. It’s definitely a movie you enjoy time and time again, tugging at your heartstrings all the while.