Tue, 25 Jun, 2024

Movie Review: Dead Poets Society

By Asmita Subedi

Dead Poets Society is a 1989, American film, starring late Robin Williams in the main lead. It is the story of an English professor, John Keating, played by Robin Williams, whose teaching methods are unorthodox according to the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy’s standards. The story is based on how a teacher can be the inspiration for his students and teach them a new way to see their life and bring positive changes in them. Neil Perry, Todd Anderson, Knox Overstreet, Charlie Dalton, Richard Cameron, Steven Meeks and Gerard Pitts are the senior students at Welton and the students of Mr. Keating. Keating has always had his extraordinary ways to teach his students while Gale Nolan, the aristocratic headmaster of the school, is always against his teaching habits. But nevertheless, Keating teaches his students with fun, takes them out of the classroom, and instructs them to tear off the ridiculous mathematical formulas that teaches them  to rate the quality of poetry. Later he also makes them stand on their desks and asks them to look at the world in a different way.  He is much like a friend to his students and he also gives them the privilege to call him “O Captain! My Captain!” The students are inspired by the ways he teaches the class and they even consult with him for advice. The boys find out that Keating was the former student at Welton and belonged to the school literary club, the Dead Poets Society. They secretly decide to revive the club and plan to meet at the cave off the school grounds. Afterwards, they have each of their meetings at the cave. The later part shows how the boys realize their passions, the potential they possess and the pain and frustration they go through. They do stupid things and enjoy each moment of their life exploring something new. Interesting moments follow wherein Charlie gets ready to bear the punishment for his stupid prank of the phone call from the God to change the system and let girls study at Welton; Knox falls in love with Chris wooing her with his poetry while Neil dares to go to auditions for a role in a play without the consent of his father and tries to aspire to his dream of becoming an actor. The drama’s climax begins after Neil’s father withdraws Neil from the school and makes it clear about his intention to enroll him in a military school to prepare him for his career in medicine. But Neil cannot accept what was destined to be his future and commits suicide in frustration. Keating’s unconventional teaching habits are blamed for the tragedy.  The boys are threatened by the headmaster, Nolan and Neil’s father to sign a document which claims that Keating was the one to incite the boys to restart the club and encourage Neil to go against his father’s wishes. And in all pain and with the feeling of guilt, the boys sign the document resulting in Keating being fired from the school. At the end, in the English class, now taught by Nolan, Keating comes to take his belongings where Todd reveals to him that they were intimidated by Nolan and Neil’s father to sign the denunciation. Nolan orders Todd to be quiet and demands Keating to leave. As he leaves, Todd stands on his desk and calls out “O Captain! My Captain!”. Nolan threatens him of getting expelled, but to his dismay, much of the class, including Knox, Meeks, Pitts and others stand on their desks and repeat “O Captain! My Captain!”. Finally, Nolan gives up and Keating thanks the students and leave. The movie is absolutely a masterpiece. All the characters make us realize the bitter truth of life and really touches the heart at most of the times. The movie helps us to better understand love, happiness, passion, suicide and depression. I could easily relate it with the connection between a teacher and his students.  The pain Neil went through after his dreams got shattered really made my eyes tearful. Most of all, I was completely moved by the final scene; it’s an absolutely marvelous and iconic scene that can’t get off of anybody’s mind. Every child will have a better understanding about how to learn in a new way and every teacher will find a brilliant way to teach their kids. Indeed the movie has a great message in itself and hats off to the acting of the entire cast and crew. Robin Williams gave an exceptionally fine performance and will be remembered forever for his brilliant acting. In the meantime, I remember my English teacher, Menosh, who is much alike John Keating to us in several ways. She has her own extraordinary ways to teach us, such that we even don’t realize that we are studying and learning inspirational lessons from her fun filled games and tasks. We all are happy to have her as our mentor who is much more like a friend to us, and yeah we all owe you our Captain Menosh.  :D Cheers for our Captain Menosh! ! And I highly recommend all the students and teachers to watch this movie, at least once.