He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.
My senior year of high school, as a joke while my English teacher was out of the classroom, we stood on our desks and said “Oh captain, my captain” when she walked into the room. I knew it was from Dead Poets Society, but I didn’t get the joke because I had never seen it before. Unbelievable, right? An English Education major who had never seen Dead Poets.
At an all boys private school in New England, things are about to be shaken up. This tight-laced school is filled with boys who come from rich families and a priority on education. Teacher John Keatings is unlike anyone they’ve ever met before. Keatings teaches them that there is more to life than books and learning, and that dreams are worth pursuing.
I loved it. I love that Robin Williams is such a versatile actor. He’s mostly known for his corny, off-the-cuff comedy routines and movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, but he can really pull off the dramatic, emotional stuff too. This is a prime example of that, as well as Patch Adams. Both employ his sense of humor and are quite emotional. It’s quite amazing.
The boys were probably my favorite, though. Neil and Todd I quickly fell in love with, as well as Knox and Charlie. They each had their own personalities and, given the length of this movie, we had time to see each one develop into something more than just a flat character.
Since this fits perfectly with my major, well, let’s just say I got class ideas from it. No, I won’t have my students tear out the introduction to their books, but it sure it tempting now and again. I really want to be a teacher like Mr. Keatings…but in his awesome, motivational way and not so much in his troublemaking ways. I suppose that comes with the territory, doesn’t it?
One last thing. The whole time I was watching this, I kept thinking that John Keatings was a real life poet. It sounded too familiar to just be some fantasy. It wasn’t until later that I realized the name I was searching for was John Keats. I can’t tell if it was coincidental that the names are so similar or if it was done on purpose.