Dead Poets Society was released in 1989 and is a visual masterpiece! I watched this movie opening weekend at the theatre in the eighth grade. Watching it today, I thought the main character, Neil, was played by Hotch from Criminal Minds. However, it turns out Robert Sean Leonard is not the same person as Thomas Gibson.
Dead Poets Society begins with the start of a new school year at an all boys boarding school called Welton Academy. It is the definition of tradition and it is very demanding. The students attending are preparing to become doctors, lawyers and bankers. They all feel the pressure to make their families proud and live out what their family has decided their path in life will be.
We are introduced to the new English teacher, Mr. John Keating (seriously) and he tells his students “You will learn to think for yourselves again” on the first day of class. He tells them that he too attended Welton Academy and survived. Mr. Keating teaches in a manner they have never been exposed to. He wants them to contribute and have a voice in his class. He allows them to dream and believe that they can do whatever they want. They learn that Carpe Diem means Seize The Day. This becomes the mantra for the main characters of the film.
It doesn’t take long for Hotch to find an old yearbook showing Mr. Keating was a leader of a underground club at the school. It was called Dead Poets Society and the members would meet to discuss poetry and chicks. When Hotch presses for details, Keating advises the administration wouldn’t look too favorably on the Dead Poets resurfacing.
This, of course, is all Hotch needs to hear. He is going to reinstate the club and asks his friends to become members. They begin secret meetings and read poetry and tell stories. These meetings are held in what looks to be a dark and damp cave late at night. It is also DEEP into the woods. Spoiler: They are able to sneak out by feeding the watch dog biscuits.
Hotch decides to try out for A Midsummer Night’s Dream off campus and gets the lead. He writes a letter of permission from his father and the school stating he can be in the play. He knows his father would not allow him to pursue acting.
Hotch’s father finds out about his deceit and tells Hotch to drop out of the play. Hotch says he can’t and that the play is the next night. His father tells him he had better quit that play. Afterwards, Hotch goes to Mr. Keating and says he feels trapped and that acting is what lights him up. Mr. Keating tells Hotch he must tell his father how he is feeling.
The next day in class Hotch tells Mr. Keating that he spoke to his father and was told he could stay in the play. We know that this is not true and that Hotch is lying.
I will tell you no more about this film. I hope you check out Dead Poet’s Society. If for no other reason, the beautiful cinematography and score of this movie will make it well worth your time. Dead Poets Society won the 1990 Oscar for Best Screenplay. Robin Williams was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Daniel Day Lewis (My Left Foot).
Now for some interesting movie facts. Mel Gibson turned down the role of Mr. Keating. I actually think he would have been a better casting choice for this role. Robin Williams was good, but Mel Gibson was something else back in the 1980s/1990s. Dead Poets Society was filmed in Delaware. Robin Williams was loved by the local residents and walked around town conversing with them often during the filming. Lara Flynn Boyle had a small part in this movie, but it was left on the cutting room floor. Her name is still in the credits at the end of the film. Lara Flynn Boyle was part of two extremely successful tv shows in the 1990s 1)Twin Peaks and 2)The Practice. I never watched Twin Peaks, but The Practice is one of my favorite tv shows of all time.
Did you watch Dead Poets Society? Do you have a favorite scene? Please leave your thoughts on the film in the comments.
- @ November 20, 2021 11:31 pm