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Dead Poets Society review & questions
Dead Poets Society is a film directed by Peter Weir in 1989. The movie follows the life of young boys who are learning poetry in a conservative boarding school called Welton Academy in the United States in the late 1950s. The life of the students changes radically when they get a new unconventional teacher, Mr. Keating. His teachings inspire some of the students in his class to set up a secret society called Dead Poets Society that also Keating led when he was a student in the same school.
The title of the film isn't so tempting, maybe because I'm not so interested in poetry. I think that the title could have been more attractive. But the title reveals a lot about the movie: It has a lot to do with poetry, one of the students dies dramatically and of course, Dead Poets Society is the name of the students' secret group.
The film is usually set near the Welton Academy and the whole plot is realistic. It could really happen in real life. The story starts quite slowly but after a while I found the plot very interesting. It gave me something to think about, like what I want for my life and what I want to become when I finish the high school. I also believe that the theme of the movie is just that; what we really want to do in our life. What we want to become. I also found another message in the film which is that if you have a chance to do something that you have always wanted, then you should do it at once without hesitation. Like Keating said: "Carpe diem, seize the day."
All the actors in the movie are great. Especially Robin Williams as John Keating is amazing. His acting is so lively and he fits in his role perfectly. Keating is so friendly and he really likes teaching. Also Robert Sean Leonard as Neil Perry does a great job and Kurtwood Smith as Mr. Perry is just a kind of dominating father that I imagined. I would say that all the actors are chosen well. The only bad side in the movie is that all the boys looked so same. All of them have the same kind of suit and their faces don't differ so much. For example, Todd and Knox are so much alike that it is hard to remember who did what.
Although the title of the film isn't so tempting, I really liked the movie. I have seen it a couple of times before, but still it offered something new to think about. Especially the last scene is touching when the boys get up on their desks and say to Keating: "Captain, my captain". This scene with the great music gave me a sad feeling and I would have wanted to see that Mr. Keating would have come back to teach the boys again.
Questions about the movie
1. Would Neil still have eventually committed suicide if Mr. Keating had never come into his life?
I think that Neil would have committed suicide even without Mr. Keating coming into his life. Sooner or later Neil would have realised that his parents wouldn't let him do what he wanted.
2. Why exactly did Neil take his own life?
Neil took his own life because his father didn't let Neil become an actor and his father also wanted Neil to become a doctor that would have taken too many years of Neil's life. Maybe Neil didn't want to waste his life for that.
3. Could Neil have found another way out of his predicament? Was suicide his only answer?
I think that Neil could have escaped from his home and so he would have got an opportunity to do whatever he wanted. Suicide wasn't his only answer to his problem.
4. With similarly screwed up parents as Neil's, why didn't Todd take the same way out?
Maybe Todd and Neil were so different persons that Todd didn't even think about killing himself. Perhaps Todd thought that when he got older, he could do whatever he wanted without asking his parents, but Neil didn't think about that opportunity.
5. Who was really the bravest of Keating's boys?
I think that Neil was absolutely the bravest of Keating's boys. Making a suicide asks a lot of courage and not many have the courage to commit suicide even one would have planned that.
6. What happened to the original Dead Poets Society? Why did it cease to exist?
There was no clear answer to this in the movie, but I think that the original Dead Poets Society ceased to exist at the same way as the group of Keating's boys.
7. How did the poetry book make it into Neil's room? Did Keating put it there? And if so, why, after telling the boys that the present administration would not look favourably on it, would Keating do that?
I think that Mr. Keating put the poetry book into Neil's room. Who else could it have been? Maybe Keating wanted to courage the boys to learn poetry in a different way, because Keating didn't like "the old ways" of teaching poetry.
8. In the initial screenplay, Todd specifically does not sign the paper at the end. In the movie, we are not told one way or the other. Did Todd sign it or not?
I think that Todd did sign the paper at the end of the movie. If he hadn't signed the paper, I think that he would have been fired from school.
9. What happens next? What does the future hold for Keating and the boys?
Mr. Keating will probably start teaching poetry somewhere else and the boys will learn poetry in the traditional way. But I think that the boys will never forget Mr. Keating and Keating will also never forget the boys.
10. Who really was to blame for Neil's death?
Suicide was Neil's own decision, but I wouldn't say that Neil was to blame for his own death. I would rather say that Neil's father was the man who was responsible for Neil's death. If Mr. Perry just had listened to what his son felt, Neil could be alive.