Movie Review of “Dead Poets Society”

Dead Poets Society is one of the best movies that Robbin William ever performed in. Today I watched the DVD with my 13-year-old daughter. I remembered when I first watched the movie at the movie theater, I was quite moved by the message that one must “seize the day” (“Carpe Diem”). I often found people, myself included, allow days to go by as if it’s another day to check off without living each day to the fullest.

One doesn’t have to join the Dead Poets Society to the suck the marrow out of the life. But it does help to have people around you push and encourage you.

I was taken back by Neil’s suicide because his Dad commanded him to drop acting where his passion lied and forced him to become a doctor. I hope none of the youths should take away from the movie that it’s the proper approach to resolve the conflict with their parents. And I also hope that parents nowadays (tigers or not) are more inclined to listen to their kids’ plead to pursue their own passion.

On one hand, I do not agree to the old academic way of cramming the students what they think the students should know – often the dry and boring materials. Teaching the kids to think for themselves is one of the critical teaching objectives. I cheered when Todd could break out of the shell and poured out a beautiful poem when pushed by Mr. Keating and Charlie could push himself to win the heart of his dream girl (though it’s mostly hormone driven). Of course, Neil Perry went against his dad’s command to pursue his acting gig. On the other hand, I also do not subscribe to Mr. Keating’s (Robbin Williams) ripping (literally) the pages out of the old ways as the young children can easily misinterpret the message as the license to rebel without the right reasons. The tragic suicide of Neil was a case in point.

Having watched the movie when I was younger empathizing the high school kids and now watched the DVD as a parent of a teenager, I can now see the both sides clearly. It’s important to have good communication between parents and children. The children must see the good intention of the parents and force the conversation upon encountering conflicts. No reason to wrap up the negotiation too quickly or jump the “gun.” After all, it’s your life any how. The parents must not push the kids beyond the “breaking” point. They may need guidance sometimes but they have the free will. It’s best they hold on to their passion to achieve happily something great than to live their lives like a zombie.

I especially like Mr. Keating for asking the students to step on top of the table and forcing them to see things differently. It’s a nice trick to keep life interesting.

What a great movie! Robbin Williams was brilliant in this movie and suit his character well. I truly feel the loss of his talent.