Thursday, May 3, 2012
GOOD WILL HUNTING
(December 1997, U.S.)
At the time Gus Van Sant's GOOD WILL HUNTING was released in theaters, one of the things that impressed me most (besides the film itself) was the hype behind not only the strong friendship 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 I was even touched that two good friends came together in such great collaboration to take home the golden statue.
Nothing Matt Damon he ever did in any BOURNE film will ever grab my attention as much as his role as twenty year-old Will Hunting, a mathematical genius who's 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 Skarsgård) 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 future. The story takes on many clichés, including friendship, love and hope (I suppose sometimes cliché is not only fitting, but even necessary).
I don't know too much about psychotherapy, but I think I can make the educated assumption that no therapist in real life would open up his or her own life and past to their patient, as Sean does to Will. In fact, back when I saw this film in 1997, I was dating a girl who was studying for 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 open their mind and suspend their disbelief of not only the profession of therapy itself, but just how far both therapist and patient are willing to go throughout the healing process.
There's a moment in the film between Will and Chuckie that's always rang true for me and that's when Chuckie all but threatens Will that he won't permit him to continue to live in South Boston, working construction and wasting his gifts of genius ten years from where they are 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. It's just a shame Damon and Affleck didn't continue to focus more on their writing skills because, in my opinion, it's where they both shine most in their careers. But I suppose when you're offered millions of dollars to star in BOURNE sequels and play the DAREDEVIL, that beats sitting on your ass at a keyboard...if you're a movie star, 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."