Dead Poets Society
At an elite, old-fashioned boarding school in New England, a passionate English teacher inspires his students to rebel against convention and seize the potential of every day, courting the disdain of the stern headmaster.
Richard Schickel Williams, who has comparatively little screen time, has come to act, not to cut comic riffs, and he does so with forceful, ultimately compelling, simplicity.
Variety Staff Story sings whenever Williams is onscreen. Screen belongs just as often to Leonard, who as Neil has a quality of darting confidence mixed with hesitancy. Hawke, as the painfully shy Todd, gives a haunting performance.
Jonathan Rosenbaum The moral divisions set up between characters are childishly overdrawn; and, worst of all, the behavior shown by the boys and adults frequently reeks of falsity and contrivance.
Rita Kempley It's a literate though strained uplifter, a not altogether compatible coupleting of Rocky Balboa and the Bard.
Desson Thomson Solid, smart entertainment.