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  • Hannah Richardson

Dead Poets Society (1989)

“Poetry, beauty, romance, love- these are what we stay alive for.” -John Keating

There are some movies out there that are so impactful that they have the power to change you as a person. It ends, and you’re so distraught, and you can feel the warms tears on your face. That’s what this movie was for me.

Dead Poets Society (1989), directed by Peter Weir, is haunting, yet so beautiful. It exemplifies the importance of being your own person and not complying with what everyone else wants or expects of you. Poetry, reading, acting; the arts play an essential role in this film. But the central theme to me, is death and how fleeting life can be. The late and incredible Robin Williams stars as John Keating alongside Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, and more.

This movie will fill the souls who love the dark academia aesthetic to the brim with happiness. It takes place at an all-boys preparatory school known as Welton Academy in Vermont. The leading group of boys is Neil Perry, Todd Anderson, Knox Overstreet, Charlie Dalton, and Steven Meeks. Even though they were all already friends (besides Todd, who was new), their bond grew extraordinarily throughout the film thanks to Mr. Keating, the new English teacher. They all come from fairly strict households, Neil especially, and the school is incredibly hard on them too. It isn’t easy to express yourself when everyone around you is telling you that you shouldn’t. Because of this, Keating’s nontraditional teachings of poetry and ideas of seizing the day spoke to them all immensely. Throughout the movie, Keating helps them all get through rough times and pushes them to pursue their dreams. Neil was having the worst time of them all but was the easiest at concealing it with his happy go lucky façade. In the end, Keating’s help just wasn’t enough.

Dead Poets Society will have your heart feeling so happy until the last thirty minutes hit. That’s when it will be ripped out. So, if you watch this, I suggest bringing tissues! This movie will make you think about your life and what path you should take.

Peter Weir’s direction and John Seale’s cinematography skills make this film so intriguing. Combined with the natural dialogue and plot, everything just flows together so smoothly. I wasn’t expecting to love a movie filled with a bunch of boys at a preparatory school so much, but it really captures your heart. The camera angles and shots pull you in closer to their lives. I’ve continued to neglect mentioning the score of films in my reviews, but I must talk about this one. When a movie has a good score, that’s when your emotions will be affected the most, at least for me. It pulls you in. Every big moment becomes more moving because of the score, brought to life by Maurice Jarre, a French composer.

Unsurprisingly, Dead Poets Society won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and two BAFTA awards for Best Original Film Score and Best Film. It was also nominated for countless other awards.

All in all, I give this film an A+ rating. It’s absolutely brilliant from start to finish.

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