School of Rock

April 12, 2017
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Write an essay on how one of the characters changes:


The film we watched in school was 'School of Rock', directed by Richard Linklater. In this essay, I am going to be talking about the changes a certain character undergoes. I will be examining Dewey Finn's character using mise-en-scene, which involves looking at the various settings, costumes, lights, facial expressions and how they characters are positioned in the film.

The film is about Dewey Finn, who goes from being an irresponsible slob, to a caring teacher. He starts off by stealing his friend Ned's job, a substitute teacher, when he is kicked out of his own band and is in need of money. Dewey doesn't care about the children at first, but, upon learning they are musical, his attitude completely changes, and he sets up a rock band with them, learning to care for them in the process, and they him. They perform at the 'Battle of the Bands' (to the dismay of the kid's parents, and the school principal) and, although they don't win, they learn many valuable lessons, almost without realizing it.

In the beginning of the film, Dewey is self-absorbed, doesn't care about the other members of his band, and he is also irresponsible. You can tell all this purely from the first scene. The other band members give Dewey dirty looks, during they gig they are all playing at some kind of club. Dewey has clearly earned the dirty looks though, as he goes off on long and unplanned guitar solos and stage dives. You can see that once or twice, the other band members exchange looks as if to say 'we're getting him out of this band as soon as possible: would you look at him!' but it is plain to see that Dewey wasn't impacted by the looks, if he even noticed them! Later on it becomes clear that the band had already spoken to Dewey about the solos and stage-dives, but he had ignored them. That is why I say he is self-absorbed and doesn't care for the rest of the band.

Dewey goes from being irresponsible, lazy, thoughtless, not caring, selfish, dreamy and immature to being productive, thoughtful, responsible, caring and much, much nicer. He undergoes this change by teaching. He realized when his band drops him that rock music isn't everything, and that even though he thought the universe revolved around him, no one else shared that opinion. I think in creating the band, he really brings him and the kids together, which in it's turn, gives him an insight into the 'real world' that he has never seen into before, and he realizes that you can work, earn money and be 'sensible' as well as have rock music.

Dewey changes drastically in the film. He goes from being one thing, to almost the complete opposite. I think that rock music is the only similarity the Dewey at the end of the film has to the Dewey at the start. We first notice the change in Dewey when he learns the kids he is 'teaching' are musical. He rushes back to his classroom and starts planning the band. When the kids come back from their music lesson, they get a big surprise. The 'Mr. S' they left behind had vanished, and in his place is a real teacher, who is genuinely interested in them. Dewey then goes on to ask the kids their names, did they play an instrument, etc. and really tries to get to know them. I think that this is the turning point for Dewey.

Although Dewey changes so much in the course of the film, I don’t actually think he notices any change in himself. The change is so sudden, that I think he ought to notice (he goes from only being in the same room as the kids to earn money, to not being able to stop thinking about them and their rock band) but he was so wrapped up in the 'Battle of the Bands' that he didn't. When the competition was finally over though, Dewey, again, should have had time to notice the changes in his character but, again, he didn’t! He jumped straight into the 'School of Rock' afterschool club, which is another example of how much he had changed. If you had told the Dewey who slept on his friend's couch, who was in debt and who didn't care about anyone else, that he would start his own afterschool club for schoolchildren, he probably would have laughed and told you that you were crazy!

By the end of the film, I think everybody likes Dewey now. He is much nicer, and he has had a lot of his corners rubbed off by the kids. As I said, I think that if the Dewey at the end of the film lost interest in rock music, he would have absolutely no similarities to the Dewey at the start of the film! I'm glad of that though, because he is a lot, lot, lot nicer at the end of the film!

I enjoyed the film 'School of Rock' (directed by Richard Linklater) and I also enjoyed watching the characters change. Dewey Finn was the character I focused on, as I felt he was the one that had changed the most. He went from being a selfish slob sleeping on his friend's couch, to an understanding, caring man that loved to teach! This change, was definitely for better, not worse, in my opinion, as it showed Dewey and everyone around him, that change isn't always for worse, and just because you're passionate about one thing, it doesn't mean you have to spend your whole life on it, and also that it is possible to have more that one passion.

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