Thursday, May 3, 2012

GOOD WILL HUNTING



(December 1997, U.S.)

At the time Gus Van Sant's GOOD WILL HUNTING was released in movie theaters, one of the things that impressed me the most (besides the film itself) was the hype behind not only the strong real life friend ship between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but the fact that they'd written the script together, which would eventually go on to win the Oscar for best original screenplay. I can honestly say that I was even touched that two good friends could come together in such a great collaboration and take home the golden statue.

As Matt Damon goes, nothing he ever did in any BOURNE film will ever get my attention as much as his role as twenty year-old Will Hunting, a mathematical genius who is forced to see therapist Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams in his Oscar winning dramatic role) while having the opportunity to study advanced mathematics with a renowned M.I.T. professor (played Stellan SkarsgÄrd) in order to avoid jail time for assaulting a man who'd bullied him as a child (talk about sweet revenge!). Throughout his therapy sessions, Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend Chuckie (played by Ben Affleck) and his new girlfriend (played by Minnie Driver) while confronting the emotional issues of his abusive past and making decisions about his potential future. It's very safe to say that the story here takes on many cliche issues of friendship, love and hope, but what the fuck...sometimes cliche is not only fitting, but necessary.

I have to say I don't know much about psychotherapy, but I think I can make the educated assumption that no real life therapist would open up his own life and his own past to his patient as Sean does to Will. In fact, at the time I saw this film in 1997, I was dating a girl who was getting her masters degree in psychology (I wonder whatever happened to her?). She pretty much confirmed the far-fetched notion of it all. This, perhaps, is where the viewer is forced to simply open up their minds and suspend the disbelief of not only the profession of therapy itself, but just how far both therapist and patient are willing to go in the healing process.

There's a moment that takes place between Will and Chuckie that's always held my attention and that's when Chuckie all but threatens Will that he will not permit Will to still be living in South Boston and still working construction and potentially wasting his gifts of genius ten years from now. This is a moment of selfless friendship and support that many of us would be extremely lucky to have in our lives - the kind of friendship and support that comes only with two childhood buddies sharing a couple of beers and being completely open with one another...in other words, that likely wouldn't happen on FaceBook or some other bullshit social network! Minnie Driver is touching as the free-spirited college girl who just wants to love Will and be loved in return.

I have to say it's a shame that Damon and Affleck did not continue to focus more on their writing skills because, in my opinion, it's where they both shine the greatest in their careers. But I suppose when you're offered millions of dollars to star in BOURNE sequels and to play the DAREDEVIL, that must beat sitting at a keyboard for a large portion of your life...in a movie star's eyes, anyway.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Chuckie Sullivan: "Let me tell what I do know...every day I come by your house and I pick you up, and we go out, we have a few drinks and a few laughs and it's great. You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb to when I get to your door, 'cause I think maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye, no see ya later, no nothin'...you just left. I don't know much, but I do know THAT."

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