Dead Poets Society ★★★★½

"When you read, don't just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think."

Peter Weir is one of the greatest directors of all time. Dead Poet’s Society is a powerful and moving piece of work that anybody who appreciates the beauty of words and life and creativity will eat up like chocolate. 

At the centre of this film are three fantastic performances. Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke are the dramatic soul, delivering two endearing and memorable characters but the heart of Dead Poet’s Society is Robin Williams. What a beautiful man. I’ve always thought Williams to be a powerful dramatic actor, even more so than I think him a great comedian (though he undoubtedly was) and his turn here is nothing short of a masterful display as to why. Mr. Keating is all the best teachers you ever had and the teacher you always wanted rolled into one. It is no surprise at all that the film was sold on him. He truly was one of the greats. 

There are a lot of beautiful shots and gripping scenes throughout Dead Poet’s Society although that is not to say it is flawless. Bizarrely, I think the film makes a notable misstep with Neil’s story. While incredibly poignant and moving, touching on a lot of important issues and facets of upper class education, I think the most important scene of the entire arc is entirely omitted. I won’t spoil it here but Neil makes a big decision toward the end of the film about his future and I do not feel like I buy it as well as I would have if we got to see this missing conversation play out. 

If you love art, you will love Dead Poet’s Society. Is that pretentious to say? Perhaps a little bit but then I think that is part of the point. It’s just how I feel about it.