Into Film Project: 7 – Dead Poets Society (Part 2)

Here is my actual review of Dead Poets Society for World Teachers’ Day last Monday. It may be short but I cannot avoid spoilers.

7 films in and this is the first that I have watched with a friend. Not only that but this was a friend who, until recently, had aspired to be an English teacher. And what can you describe this film as if not a film about an eccentric English teacher who pushes boundaries and inspires his pupils?

Robin Williams takes to the role of Mr Keating perfectly. His demeanour commands enough respect for the pupils to be attentive yet his facial features reflect the joy and spontaneity that characterises the unorthodox Keating. At times his character can be compared to Hector from the History Boys and the idea of a different style of English teacher is a theme that runs through both of these films.

As a film that fails the Bechdel Test (see http://theorbital.co.uk/bechdel-test/ for further information on what this is), I did struggle to engage with the film by the time it reached the middle section. Set in a boy’s school I shouldn’t have expected there to be any strong females depicted, but the fact that women were portrayed simply as something for the boys to chase after was a little bit disappointing for me.

However, the climax of the film was gripping. I had a vibe that the film would not end with the same number of characters as it started with, but the loss of one of the younger characters was not something that I had expected and a really compelling end to the film.

Of course, the final scene of the film is one that is hailed as a key part of this film and even films in general, but I did not connect with it in the same poignant way as my friend sitting next to me did, probably because I was still reeling from the earlier death.

Ultimately this is a film that inspires: children to learn, teachers to teach, and everyone to follow their dreams. Four stars.

The next film in my Into Film Project is Wadjda for International Day of the Girl on 11th October. I am currently unsure whether I will be able to get hold of this film, but a new review should be coming at some point soon.

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