Dead Poets Society: Robin Williams is Neal

How rare of an actor is Robin Williams. From mad hatter antics to seriously serious dramatic roles. He proved he can do it all…brilliantly! And we will all miss him tremendously.

At school, we were required to watch two of his movies. In both, he played a doctor – Patch Adams (I think we watched it in High School) and Awakenings (College for a psychology class, if I’m not mistaken).

I loved his suspense-thriller movies too – Insomnia and One-Hour Photo.

He is just one of my favorite actors. If I’d met him, I think I would be so inclined to give the man a hug. His eyes were so kind and demeanor, so open that it invites you in and does not, at all, intimidate.

Since the news of his death, I’ve had a craving to watch one of my all time favorite movies of his – Dead Poets Society.

I think I first watched this as a young kid in the 90’s. I can’t remember if it was on Laser Disc (those big-ass discs you needed to turn over) or VHS (Google if you don’t know, millenial). Was this the movie that inspired me to write poetry in junior year of high school? Probably.

I had this phase where I spat out poetry after poetry, giving them away as “gifts” to my friends and family. (This is ingenious, actually. A gift you made yourself, heartfelt so they can’t throw it away and the giftee would need to appreciate it whether they like to or not).

How can you watch Dead Poets as a student or teacher and not be affected? In college, I actually had a professor who stood at his desk and tried to do a Robin Williams. I just looked at him cynically (seen that before…)

Watching it again, I can’t help but draw a parallelism to Robin’s life.

In the movie, it was Neil who took his life because of the pressure from his overbearing father (Red Forman…I mean, Kurtwood Smith). When Robin Williams took his life, it was the black dog of depression that exerted the pressure.

The legacy of the movie remains, inspiring generations of students, teachers, and dreamers all over the world. As will the actor continue to be the inspiration of generations of actors, comedians, and the audience that watch his movies.


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