Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Currently Watching: Dead Poets Society

Title:  Dead Poets Society (IMDB, Amazon, Wikipedia)

I remember seeing Dead Poets Society in the theaters in 1989 and loving it.  Not just that though, this film left an indelible mark on my heart and soul.  The sentiments expressed in this film spoke volumes to me.  I loved the message but more than that I wanted to live the message.  Carpe diem.  Walking out of that theater I wanted my life to have meaning; I wanted nothing more than to seize the day.

For those who have never seen the film, this is the movie that Robin Williams should have won the Oscar for (this and Awakenings).  Williams plays English teacher John Keating who bucks the system at Welton Academy, an all-boys prep school, by trying to teach his students to think for themselves.  His teaching hits home with a number of students who resurrect Keating’s old club the Dead Poets Society and begin to explore poetry along with their own hopes and dreams.  Unfortunately said dreams often clash with the desires of the authoritarian parents of the time (this was 1959 after all).

Williams along with a very young Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard provide some of my generation’s most inspired performances.  In fact the entire cast delivered exemplary performances.  What made Dead Poets Society truly work was the message of living life to the fullest.  This film was a mammoth inspiration on my teenage years; watching it now though makes me realize how I have failed to live up to its noble ideals.  I wanted so desperately to make a difference, to seize the day and change the world when I was young.  None of that has actually transpired.  Instead I’m barely getting by; depressed the vast majority of the time and trying to keep my head above water yet feeling worthless and like a failure at every turn.  This is going to sound sill, but I feel like I’ve failed this film.  Obviously I didn’t take these lessons to heart enough and because of that I’m where I am today.

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