Richard Linklater’s School of Rock explores the passionate aspirations of our youths, in which some of us have taken in our transition to adulthood, living a life unwilling to compromise our creativity for the sake of security, leading a life of supposed authenticity that would leave a legacy for many to be admired. Many of us have chased after our dreams and remain to reach out for it even during our pace through adulthood, hoping that such desires would be realised and feel that elation and fulfilment that has long waited to be filled.
Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is a man living in great instability, stunted both in his complete transition from adolescence to adulthood and in his significance of his current band. His bandmates are desperate to change and are assertive for their music to be heard by the masses and to no longer live a life of luck and hunger, to finally turn their passion into economic reward. While Dewey’s roommates are constant reminders of the debts he owes, in which he attempts to delay as much as possible, almost as if to temporarily obstruct the idea of adulthood completely consuming and leading him.
Sure, he dives deeper in his own hole through the desperate move in falsely claiming himself to be his roommate, a man who has his own set of credentials, in order to work as a substitute teacher and ensure a steady income flowing in and maintain the necessary upkeep of his life. But it is in this experience that he endures through with his students that he begins to channel his passion in ways that are creative, to impart his accumulated wisdom to a generation ignorant of the beauties of the past, to finally don the responsibility that is demanded of him from the role he never intended to embrace whole-heartedly in the first place.
This is not to say that this is a man who should not be punished for his sins, and certainly his relationships are put to the test when the walls have finally closed in on him, but Linklater wanted to guide the film to a more optimistic pathway, to inspire and excite the audience of the creative outlet that both Dewey and the children are displaying. Dewey emphasises repeatedly throughout the film the importance of a single rock show could inspire and change the world, but what and oversight in his statement is the impact that performance actually had on themselves as a unit, in which by the film’s conclusion showed Dewey finally willing to compromise and live a life of happiness and success that hasn’t been felt in some time, and the children themselves approached with the opportunity to loosen the shackles of the values and culture that their home and school life has constantly reinforced on them.
In the end, the ripples they left from their performance in battle of the bands are minuscule to those in the audience, but to those who were involved in putting the performance together, the experience they endured together, the ripples are astronomical, carried with a grand sense of sentiment that either expanded their personal horizons or finally allowed them to get through that tunnel that for so long trapped them in limbo.