Good Will Hunting
This paper will discuss the relationship between Will Hunting and the psychologist Sean Mcguire in the movie Good Will Hunting. The struggles that occur between these main characters will be analyzed and their meanings found. A basic outline of the movie will be included to give the larger picture and its influence upon the two men.
An Analysis of the Movie Good Will Hunting and the Main Characters Will Hunting and Sean Mcguire
1. Description of the Movie
a. Setting of the movie
b. Introduction of the main characters
2. The Main Characters and their problem
a. Will Huntings Problem and Seans intervention.
b. Development of the problem and their solutions
3. The final development of the Characters
a. A solution is found between the two characters
b. Resolution is made and the ending of movie
Good Will Hunting is the Miramax movie written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and directed by Gus Van Sant. Starring the two Academy Award winning writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, plus Academy Award winning actor Robin Williams, Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver, and Stellen Skarsgard the movie went on to be nominated for 9 Academy Awards and win two The movie is based around the life of Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who is a troubled orphan growing in the slums of South Boston, referred to as “Southie”. A reviewer noted on the personal relationship between Affleck and Damon, based on having truly raised in South Boston: A good example of this is a brief transaction early in the film in which Affleck buys a hamburger for one of his moocher buddies. When the kid says he only has 16 cents, Affleck holds on to the burger, telling him that he can pay a few cents a week and put the sandwich on layaway. After some angry yelling, Affleck eventually gives in (as you’re sure he always does) and forks the hamburger over. This innocuous little exchange speaks volumes about these two guys and their past history, and is funny to boot. It’s honest and graceful. (CNN Website)
Will is a genius of unprecedented standards, but is never discovered until a MIT professor, Gerald Lambeau (Stellen Skarsgard) sees Hunting, who is a janitor, solve a complicated math equation that had taken him, a Fields Medal winner, over two years to solve. Hunting solved it on a single night.
Hunting, who holds past grudges, gets in a fight with his three best friends, Chuckie (Ben Affleck), Billy (Cole Hauser), and Morgan (Casey Affleck), against a group of other people. The cops show up and Hunting is arrested for hitting a cop and sent to jail. It is then that Will solves the complicated math equation. He is sent to jail but the professor, who must have had some pull in Boston was able to get Will out of jail if he works on math proofs and see a psychologist.
Hunting agrees, but has a hard time with dealing with a psychologist, scaring five away, two are shown. He thenmeets Lambeau’s old college roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). It is Maguire that turns Will around because he is not afraid to talk back to him.
The movie really relates the main idea of the story and that is what psychologists call intimacy. The two characters of Will and Sean are the central focus of the movie. Skylark, Chuckie and his friends help in the bigger scope but the relationship between the psychologist Sean and Will is what really counts in this tale.
The main focus is placed on Will, whom has a rare genius to put together abstract math problems and finds it hard to relate to world without getting arrested for doing something violent and rebellious. He grew up in South Boston and the hard streets have jaded him, while his intelligence further isolated him from people and made him hostile to other people. In the beginning of the film, Will is discovered by Lambeu (Stellan Skarsgard) a professor of mathematics, and his well-being becomes a serious issue and he is pursued. While placing a difficult math problem on the chalkboard outside of his office, Will as a janitor figures the problem out but runs away so he will not be caught. Lambeu finds him but Will has gotten into a fight in the ghetto with a bunch of guys he did not like and is arrested. To further complicate the issue, while he was getting arrested he hit a police officer and he ends up being sentenced to jail. Lambeu intervenes and tells the judge about Wills genius but has to, by court order, have the boy see a psychologist. In the interim we find in what is said in a Boiled Movie Review: After driving away a few therapists with his mind games, Will meets one that can help him. Sean McGuire (Robin Williams) is from the same part of town and is never turned away by Will’s horrible behavior. The problem with Will is that he has a lot of talent but he is squandering it by being a punk and turning down “real world” ideas. Both Lambeua and McGuire see this and both want to help Will out.(Boiled Review Website) this sets the tension in the movie because Will has a real talent for Math but has a hard time seeing the real world in perspective to his ideas. This is where Sean comes in.
Sean Mcguire is the psychologist in the movie that must now take on Wills domineering ego and help him work out his problems in dealing with people and becoming intimate with them. Sean is the perfect person to do this because he was also raised in the South of Boston. He understands the neighborhoods and all the grim realities that are committee there. To boot, he also a Vietnam War veteran who has seen combat and is not fooled for a minute by Wills street behavior. A critic has written: After his cocky, smart-aleck attitude scares off other therapists, Lambeau turns to his former college buddy Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), now a professor of psychology at a junior college. This psychiatrist is not a pushover like the others, however; he is just as stubborn as Will, and works hard to get inside the prodigy’s head. At the same time, Skylar tries to get inside his heart, and both hope that Will would grow up and fully realize his potential. (Good Will Hunting Website) This is why Will could not get past Sean and his style of psychology, because the two had so much in common that Sean could not be snow-balled into thinking that Will was unique.
The psychotherapy sessions do not go well, however, and they end up having a sort of stalemate that goes on for quite some time. Will gives in, though, and it seems that Seans patience was a good strategy to open Will up. The two end up having some minor dialogue and Will is constantly on the move with his intellect by trying to put down Sean. Sean parries him well usually, until they get to talking about a painting that Seans wife had done and Will deduces from the painting the sadness and guilt that Sean felt from her death. Sean does not take this from Will and physically assaults him for being so crude. This gets Will to respect Sean and really breaks the ice between the two men. Another critic has said of this relationship: Although the confrontational nature of these well-drawn characters serve primarily to call each other’s bluffs, it’s far less pretentious than it might sound. The struggles resound of real humanity and serve to reveal refreshinglycomplex beauty and pain in each character. (Collegian Website)
The relationship between the two begins to grow, however slow, yet still it reveals that Sean is getting through to Will in the therapy. Will has the serious problem of playing off his intellect and not thinking that actual feelings are a part of the reality scale. The real debate that arises is that of Wills willingness to reach out and be able to love another human being. Sean is constantly, having to keep his guard and stay on his wits with the young man. Finally in a crescendo that builds when the two men are hanging out at a park, Wills ego is crushed when he gets talking about these things that he knows, yet has never experienced. Sean points this out to him very clearly telling him that just because, for instance, Will has read about the Vietnam War that he does not know what it was like to BE there. This important argument is the main catalyst in the movie that breaks Will down and makes him see that ideas are separate from reality in some ways of interpreting experience. Will steps away from is further stated in the Collegian review: Pushing them away, Hunting spends the majority of the movie dragging his knuckles through the mean streets of neighborhood bars and batting cages of South Boston. While believable, this belabors the overused device of distinguishing the good-hearted Hunting and his raw talents with the privileged, one-dimensional Ivy Leaguers he’s one-upping. (Collegian Website) When Will realizes his fault and that Sean is a serious man that outwitted him and taught him to see beyond what books have to teach, then the relationships begins to grow. The movie loosens up a bit as they realize that they are quite a bit alike and Will becomes more Emotionally intelligent instead of thinking that knowing as much as he does is a reason to act like the world owed him something. The rest of the therapy sessions become delves into what a reviewer cynically said: There are a lot of dramatic tidbits here, including child abuse, professional competitiveness, alcoholism, intelligentsia versus proletariat, loss, regret and blame, but the film has a tendency to offer them as pearls of wisdom when they are as predictable as the film’s eventual resolution. Nothing about this film is truly different from what we have seen before in this genre. The overlay of psychoanalysis provides it with an end of millennium water mark which will make it of interest in years to come, but does not necessarily make it better or worse than what has gone before. (Indigo Website) Although this may be true, as far as the campy psychological aspect may be concerned, a believable relationship between the two begins to grow from Will having the willingness to understand his anger and violent upbringing. Will is learning a great deal from Sean at this point but he has intimacy issues that occur with his girlfriend Skylark. She is another catalyst in Wills behavior and Sean helps him to see the value of love and that Will has a great fear of getting close to anybody.
There are a few really big fights in the film with Skylark because Will cannot grow close to her. Obviously Will has been abandoned as a child and it is Seans duty to tell him that he is not alone and that he can learn to trust if he is aware why he doesnt. this brings in the family issues and further increases the bond between the two Southies. Roger Ebert said about the film in this stage: One is Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), Lambeau’s college roommate, now a community college professor who has messed up his own life, but is a gifted counselor. One is Skylar (Minnie Driver), a British student at Harvard, who falls in love with Will and tries to help him. And one is Chuckie (Ben Affleck), Will’s friend since childhood, who tells him: You’re sitting on a winning lottery ticket. It would be an insult to us if you’re still around here in 20 years.” This is the group coming to his aid and making will realize that he is love with a beautiful and thoughtful woman, plus the potential for an astonishing career, and that he better get his life together because it would be a sad state of affairs to see all that talent go down the drain. Sean pursues this Will but his relationship seems to fare badly because Skylark and he get in a fight and they end of breaking up because Will does not have the courage to tell her that he loves her. Here again, is the intimacy issues arising and Will is in a dilemma because he has just lost a person that he loved but did not have the courage to voice it to her. Though this scenario goes bad, Will is researching job options and is beginning to see the light in what Chuckie is saying about using his gift. Though, they have stumbled through the major psychological blocks Sean is stating to make headway with stubborn mind of the young genius and his turbulent lifestyle. Roger Ebert continues: True, but Will doesn’t see it that way. His reluctance to embrace the opportunity at MIT is based partly on class pride (it would be betraying his buddies and the old neighborhood) and partly on old psychic wounds. And it is only through breakingthrough to those scars and sharing some of his own that McGuire, the counselor, is able to help him. Robin Williams gives one of his best performances as McGuire, especially in a scene where he finally gets the kid to repeat, “It’s not my fault.”
Good Will Hunting’ perhaps found some of its inspiration in the lives of its makers. The movie was co-written by Damon and Affleck, who grew up in Boston, who are childhood friends, and who both took youthful natural talents and used them to findsuccess as actors. It’s tempting to find parallels between their lives and the characters–and tempting, too, to watch the scenes between Damon and Driver with the knowledge that they fell in love while making the movie. This interplay makes the whole movie seem more real and only brings the characters of Sean and Will come alive all to much. In the realization that he could be loved and that he was not to be blamed for how he was raised is another key factor in Wills development. He finally sees that he is capable of being loved and that he was combating invisible demons that had arisen from his childhood. Sean points this out in the famous Its not your fault scene and Sean comes to tears and releases many years of pent up emotions that festered in him for so many years. The resolution of the movie begins here and the will starts to really have access to the tools that can help integrate into society. Sean realizes this and they are quickly becoming friends fro all the experiences they were accumulating together. The movie spent a great deal of time working out the relationship between these two and the effort is paying off. Sean has broken down the ego that was so raw in the beginning and helped Will to realize that there is more to life than intellectual pursuits. Sean had to teach Will to survive in a real world outside of books and all that they can offer. He let Will know that books and things of that nature are apart of the whole and not, as Will had falsely thought in the beginning of the movie, the whole of the whole.
In conclusion, we have seen Will, a troubled South Boston kid, take an incredible journey through the talents of his photographic memory. Fortunately, the character is saved from the mean streets of Boston to pursue this talent and live a life with some knowledge of living it and not just memorizing it. With intervention of Limbaeu, Will meets Sean Mcguire and the two are connected through the geography that they were both raised. Sean brilliantly leads the young genius through the different avenues of feeling, that he is so blind too and there is a break though for Will, in that he can start to live outside of the book and truly see the big picture of life. This big picture is merely learning how to love. Though Sean is a master at learning from books, he has little understanding on how things work in actual experience. Sean teaches him to understand what is an ideal and what is experience and therefore gives him the proper balance to survive in a world that had treated Sean so badly. The end of the story ends with Chuckie, not showing up to pick him up for work, which meant that he, in a way sacrificed himself to let his friend escape South Boston, and Will takes off to California to reunite with Sklark, whom he had pushed away. Sean gets a letter from Will saying thank you and the resolution of the story is complete.