Monday, August 18, 2014
GOOD WILL HUNTING
"Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgard. Written by Affleck and Damon, and with Damon in the title role, the film follows 20-year-old South Boston laborer Will Hunting, an unrecognized genius who, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement after assaulting a police officer, becomes a patient of a therapist (Williams) and studies advanced mathematics with a renowned professor (Skarsgård). Through his therapy sessions, Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend (Affleck), his girlfriend (Driver), and himself, facing the significant task of thinking about his future.
Good Will Hunting received almost universal critical acclaim and was a financial success. It grossed over US$225 million during its theatrical run with only a modest $10 million budget. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, and won two: Best Supporting Actor for Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Affleck and Damon."
There are a lot of dramatic scenes and dialogue - This is one memorable exchange where Sean exposes his own vulnerabilities:
Sean: (Played by Robin Williams) - Thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me... fell into a deep peaceful sleep, and haven't thought about you since. Do you know what occurred to me?
Will: (Played by Matt Damon) - No.
Sean: You're just a kid, you don't have the faintest idea what you're talkin' about.
Will: Why thank you.
Sean: It's all right. You've never been out of Boston.
Sean: So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You're an orphan right?
Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
I felt three reactions to this film. First, I feel the big statement in the storyline centers around the genius of Will Hunting the haunted orphan and under achieving genius. This is contrasted and complemented with an understated fact in the storyline which is - The genius of Sean the therapist - This contrast is in my mind one of the strengths of the story line - both ideas form part of the whole.
My second reaction is that I feel the idea of patient, and therapist as unintended patient, is investigated well. The relationship between Sean and Will is initially patient / therapist but spills over into something bigger when both men reveal their individual vulnerabilities. This exchange leads to new directions and healing for them both. Their relationship stands as a metaphor for the healing power of in depth honesty, friendship, trust, compassion, vulnerability, dialogue and the courage to work through pain, suffering, growth and change.
My third reaction is that I feel this story exhibits the mystery of creativity and how this creativity produces outcomes that may not have been thought of at the beginning of an undertaking. The crucible of the relational creativity in this instance bought about transformation for both participants.
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