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Dead Poet's Society
Short plot summary

Welton Academy: John Keating (Robin Williams) plays a teacher intent on encouraging his students to seize the day: to suck the marrow out of the bone of life - to not discover that, when they come to die, that they have not lived....

The story follows a group of characters affected by Keating: Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke), Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles), Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen), Richard Cameron (Dylan Kussman), Steven Meeks (Allelon Ruggiero), Gerard Pitts (James Waterston).

The students discover Keating's old school book which mentions the term Dead Poets Society. They ask Keating about it. He is vague, but secretly provides them with a book of poetry which was used in the original Dead Poet's Society meetings. They meet in the woods to read poetry and discuss women.

Freed by the sentiments of this group, and some of Keating's less mainstream lessons, Neil Perry takes up acting but his father does not approve.

Please tell me the ending

Following a show stopping Shakespeare performance, Neil Perry kills himself when his controlling father says he is no longer allowed to act.

Keating is sacked. Class stands on desks at end to show their support of him.

What our panel of critics thought

"The wonder of this movie is the sheer quantity of poetry read out. And it's all out of copyright too! An accounting triumph!"

"Walt Whitman's poetry has never been more accessible to those who never learnt it at school, even though it has been in the bargain bin for most of the last century."

"Oh, the difference between the public's perceptions of Walt Whitman and Walt Disney. It's amazing what a difference a multi billion dollar marketing budget can make."

"Carpe Dieum - Seize The Day. A triumphant gathering of rosebuds, Mr Williams. Firstly you were a standup comic, then a comedy actor, always a hairy man and now a gardener? There is no limit to what you can do!"

"They should make a sequel of this movie set in an inner city school. Or has that been done already?

"A definitive Robin Williams movie. A masterpiece, if the acting is a little over zealous at times."

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

If there is one life changing movie of the last twenty years, this is it. Truly subversive. Wonderful. This poem reading effort is truly a joy to behold.

New England in the fall has rarely been captured so well.

Quotable quotes (real)
"When I was at Welton, I was a 9 stone weakling : I would go to the beach and people would kick copies of Byron in my face."
"Dare to strike out and find new ground."
"I sound my barbaric yawp on top of the world."
Other comments

This movie is a gem. A truly life affirming movie which has changed many people's lives, if only for the briefest of moments.

The sad-but-triumphant ending merely enhances the underlying point of this movie, which is to seize the day, if only to sound your 'barbaric Yawp across the top of the world'.

Date of review

November 6 , 2002

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