Dead Poets Society

Movie review by Randy White, Common Sense Media
Dead Poets Society Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Inspiring, intense story of a teacher and his students.

PG 1989 128 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 53 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 14+

Personhood

I watched this film when it first came out. It is, perhaps, Robin Williams' finest performance. But what has really struck me over the years is that this person depicts the critical importance of parents respecting and supporting their children as unique individuals with their own personalities, thoughts, interests and feelings. As adults we have hopes for our children, but if we forget that they are their own persons, we run the rest of destroying their sense of their own personhood. They have hopes and dreams and ideas just as we did when we were children and teenagers. In this film, a boarding school fosters an atmosphere of rigid, even harsh discipline. Teenagers are molded and taught what to think, what to value. One teacher, however, tries to teach them how to think for themselves and to value themselves as people. The school's philosophy is an oppressive extreme and, while the one teacher's "carpe diem" attitude leads to some irresponsible behavior that should be expected without thoughtful guidance about taking responsibility, it is the extreme of harsh, rigid discipline that leads to one student's tragic suicide. "Dead Poets Society" is an excellent film, but it is intense. I would rate it PG-13. Parents should consider whether their children are ready to deal with the depiction of suicide and what leads up to it for the particular character. Hopefully, parents will also consider how they view and treat their own children.
3 people found this helpful.
age 14+
The film is about school, schoolchildren community, interaction between a teacher and their students, about how young people try to find themselves. I liked how student's teacher of English artistically presents his subject and how he tries to be students' good friend and mentor who also teachers life , how to listen to their own heart. Good team of students, their friendship and mutual support are shown in the movie. It is only clouded by suicide of one of the students, whose father was too harsh to him not allowing him to play on stage. He did not even try to understand his own son putting himself to his place. He was too unfeeling and uncompromising. If he hadn't been, it could be happy-end in this nice movie!
1 person found this helpful.

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