Dead Poets Society Reviews
A beautifully conveyed message albeit with a little pain.
What the movie makes clear is the fact that most schooling is a plot to train students for a 9-5 assembly line. Creativity and independent thought are to be discouraged or spanked out of kids though canings and paddlings as such are looked down on today. Private schools are seen as an opportunity to meet up with and make associations with the right kind of people from the right backgrounds to become the corporate movers and shakers their parents expect them to become. Any attempt to deviate from this path is strongly discouraged. The miss-guided control parents attempt to exercise over their children's lives is shown to tragic degree in this movie. My dislike of Kurtwood Smith probably stems from watching this film.
I was bussed 25 miles to a consolidated high school, no private residential school for me but this movie brings back memories. I may have had an average in the 90ies but I took great pleasure each June once I'd gotten my exam results in sitting in front of the old drum that fed smoke to our smokehouse and ritually burning an entire year's scribblers and classroom notes. Our books were provided so we had to turn them in at the end of term.
Watching a DVD provides the opportunity to see deleted scenes and other supplements. Watching the young actors 12 years later and now in their 30ies talk about the experience of making the movie makes me feel better about my own memory--they can't agree on some rather basic details.
What this movie drives home in spades is the fact that parents may encourage their children, empower them, give them opportunities to thrive, love them and praise them; but they should not expect to live their lives for them and certainly not fulfil their parents dreams.
I fell in love with Robert Sean Leonard as an actor with this movie and have followed his career ever since. His next movie had him playing Paul Newman's rather straight-laced son in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, an entirely different role. In Safe Passage he plays a pot smoking free spirit. Leonard is proof that one can be a great actor without becoming a movie star. You've probably seen him in many roles and not even realized who was playing--to my mind that's the mark of a great actor. In this movie he definitely a leader among men.