Good Will Hunting: Character analysis
UNLOCKING WILL HUNTING
‘Good Will Hunting’ script is based on the same fundamental structural principles as the waste majority of the dramatic stories:
- The story has its protagonist and his name is Will Hunting
- Storyline comprises an adventure/journey from the A-point of his personality to reconsidering/comprehension/transformation
- Will faces difficulties/moral obstacles on his way, which test him to the limit of 2.0. version
- Reward/Catharsis in the epilogue, achieved by a new emotional version of the protagonist
Will Hunting comes across the audience as a secretive and sheltered young man, who considers sophisticated mathematical equations as no bigger deal than cleaning the floor. In this respect, we, as the viewers and recipients, have to examine the character by means of a more ingenious approach, that we used to. The supporting characters can and should be used to great effect. For all talented actors and never-to-be-forgotten acting of Robin Williams, we have only one main character, Will Hunting performed by Matt Damon. A clash of models of social behaviors, friendship, and conflicts, disputes and love give us great analytic support in revealing the initial image of the protagonist, so much as Will makes his A-to-B journey, affected and driven by his social environment. A girl Skylar, Will’s push to leave a comfort zone, and chances for fulfilling his enormous potential in the future shape the final catharsis of the character.
CHUCKIE AND BOYHOOD FRIENDS
What kind of the first impression do we, as the audience, experience on Will Hunting in his incomplete 21 years? The foggy abstract credits followed by an image of our main characters among his only friends, with Chuckie in chief of the group. We should pay unprecedented attention to the unobvious important scene near Will’s accommodation. Chuckie makes his routine way from the car to take his closest friend to a ride and between-the-line sense of the scene is to be revealed dozens of pages of the script from the moment. It would be underlined within a dialogue and the epilogue sequence, yet we only see a young man in cheap sportswear in the heart of the Boston’s nowhere. Being contrasted with the scenes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Will Hunting follows his friends inside an old car, drinks beer within a local pub, takes part in not the brightest street dialogues, provokes a fight and even shows zero tolerance to Police officer.
At this very initial stage of the story, we have no more than a troubled young man within the unprivileged and criminal surrounding. As the story goes its way, it’s becoming apparent that Will, intentionally or intuitively restrained his inner circle with friends free of existential thoughts in search of the meaning of life. Unlike professor Lambeau, these closest and in fact the only friends do not crucify Will with the call-to-action to fulfill his potential and make radical changes. Within the later stages, a story brings us with one of the best dialogues of the ‘Good Will Hunting’ movie, emotionalized by Chuckie. It fell out, that Chuckie is frustrated if not to say exacerbated with the very image of his best friend Will wasting his life here, this neighborhood with all his great mind and perspectives. At this vulnerable moment for both characters, Chuckie admits his self-inability and inadaptability to the big world, beyond the daily street routine.
But you, you’re sittin’ on a winning lottery ticket and you’re too much of a pussy to
cash it in. And that’s bullshit ’cause I’d do anything to have what you
got! And so would any of these guys. It’d be a fuckin’ insult to us if
you’re still here in twenty years.
Chuckie (Ben Affleck) despite one’s seemed mind limitless is more than Will himself conscious about his genius, regardless of all Will’s attempts to pretend the opposite. Will Hunting has always been and still is a white crow. By extension of this point, it was Chuckie who changed his friend’s life beyond the only one emotional monologue and his car-to-doorsteps routine. It was under his undoubtful supervision that a group of friends ‘make’ a car for Will, a symbol of something more than just a mean to waste time in the suburbs of Boston. To this extent, Chuckie gives Will a chance to get out of the neighborhood and his shell, rather than spend his life in Chuckie’s own car, while riding and drinking beer. Will certainly could take a bus or a train from Boston, yet this initiative of his best friend opened the door. This understanding characterizes friendship in the best way possible.
The ten seconds before I knock on the door, cause I let myself think I might
get there, and you’d be gone. I’d knock on the door and you wouldn’t be there. You just left.
We cannot by no means characterize their first encounter as agreeable and pleasant. Professor Lambeau, laureate of some prestigious mathematical awards, can only judge Will by his appearance of a rude cleaning-boy who spoil someone’s work. After revealing the actual potential of young Will Hunting, professor perceives a young man by a restricted prism of the intellect. ‘Legal assistance’ and freedom from jail for Will is being craved by Lambeau only as a mean to do the math, rather than rehabilitation for a troubled kid. Stated another way, even psychoanalysis and correctional interviews is interesting for the professor as a mean to protect a boy from jail to solve equations. Lambeau does not bother himself trying to puzzle out Will, reveal his past and try to discern causes, which kept a boy from fulfilling his potential.
Professor Lambeau can be characterized as the second-role character, who initializes journey for Will Hunting. In contrast to Sean, worldly-wise mathematical figure want to be a mentor, a supervisor or a teacher, yet not to become a friend. Going deep down, Lambeau is unprovided to uncover his own personality, to change himself within a process of communication. Being limited in his free will (freedom or jail), Will Hunting boycotts professor’s authority to some great extent. He agrees to do the math, but reject the psychoanalysts as the initiative of his mentor. The final scenes of the movie leave Lambeau behind as the least happy character who failed to change himself and to achieve what he wanted the most.
Yes. That’s right, Will. Most days I wish I never met you. Because then I could sleep at night. I wouldn’t
have to walk around with the knowledge that someone like you was out there. And I wouldn’t have to watch you throw it all away
The ‘Good Will Hunting’ analysis theme of the fulfillment of one’s natural potential is closely intertwined with the motives of love and friendship, emotional attachment and mutual dependence. Pretty the same time, that Will’s life is being shaken-up by professor Lambeau, a girl named Skylar initiate the first emotional attachment in his life. Up to this date, Will had been living in a social shell, self-restricted with the same environment of ‘convenient’ people. His friends would never dump his loyalty in contrast with his biological parents and a number of foster ones. Paralleling the new friendship with psychoanalyst Sean and a love affair with Skylar, the social alienation of Will is cracking. Hunting did probably has sexual relations before, yet not even emotionally close to a romance with Skylar.
From the very outset of their relations, Will does not make a secret of his unprivileged social status, yet makes up a big family with twelve brothers and sisters. As an orphan, who has suffered violence and snub out with a cigarette, Will invents a social history he in fact never had. Hunting has only three friends and he had self-restricted himself with a suburb of Boston and yes, he hesitates the idea to take Skylar to his accommodation as an even then would never happen. In this respect, Will Hunting reject the out world beyond one’s comfort zone and is indeed ashamed with his girlfriend.
Well, what aren’t you scared of? You live in your safe little world
where nobody challenges you and you’re scared shitless to do anything else
One among the main scenes within the ‘Good Will Hunting’ deals with a scandal between two loving hearts. Being frightened with an idea to go to California, Will provokes a blood-temper arguing. He lacks the confidence to make new social relations, to take full responsibility for own life, to find alternative ways of doing something. Will is not ready to drop his friends as an image of his future life with a beer and evening near the TV. As things develop, Will is self-frightened with a thought that he is not good enough for a rich girl from England, with only a sky as a limit. Skylar fends away this nonsense regarding the social status and shouts that she has enough guts to take a chance. As it would be revealed later, Will Hunting was dropped by his own parents and he blames himself.
It’s more of a disturbing prospect for Will to become boring for Skylar, that to be always alone by choice. By being an orphan since birth and a figure of violence, Will can’t stand with a thought to become an orphan in his love affair. Most likely he intentionally failed to take up with other girls before by inventing the most negative scenarios of such relations. Treatment interviews with Sean change Will and he now can absorb this third-person experience. Even the bitterest fail and the death of a loving one is a kind of personal choice which should never be regretted as the alienation should be. Will takes for granted the urgent metaphor about the missed baseball sensation years ago for Sean, to live Boston and do not have regrets about own choice. Will lied to Skylar by his offensive indifference and words that he doesn’t love her.
You’re afraid of me. You’re afraid that I won’t love you back. And guess what? I’m afraid too. But at least
I have the balls to it give it a shot. At least I’m honest with you.
This onscreen and acting duet is rightfully considered as one among the best duos in movie history. Sean, in fact, is not a ‘trigger’ for Will as Lambeau was, yet it was Sean who did span a chain reaction of the most significant changes. Along with that, Sean, unlike the Lambeau, is ready to feel himself vulnerable within the friendship, to make self-changes as a result of shared time. Being in contrast to five failed forerunners, Sean takes it slowly not to make any diagnoses for Will and attach labels. He does not try to fascinate Will with the psychological arguments from the recognized books. Sean gets wise to the fact that it will only make Will to defend and hide behind his intellect and wide reading erudition.
You people baffle me. You spend all this money on beautiful, fancy books—
and they’re the wrong fuckin’ books.
Both Sean and Will make their way through communication by getting from the emotional point A to 2.0. B version. Recalling the Freud’s four existential motives, Sean and Will shared these dogmas. Hunting can be characterized by means of isolation and freedom. One might jump to a conclusion that revealing of his intellect would open social doors, yet Will prefer to stay with his three ‘trusted’ friends rather than probing own potential. The fulfillment of own potential borders with ‘isolation phobia’. Sean is thought to be accepted by means of death inevitability and search for the meaning of life. After he had lost a wife, Sean stood the thought to face death one day. Will Hunting indeed becomes a culmination motive for Sean and a trigger for his India journey.
That’s what I’m saying, Will. You’ll never have that kind of relationship
in a world where you’re afraid to take the first step because all you’re
seeing are the negative things that might happen ten miles down the road.
The first interview between a young and arrogant Will Hunting and the six-in-row psychologist was a tough deal. In contrast with the processors who avoided the responsibility as a mean to defend themselves, Sean expresses his emotion explicitly, uses foul language and even use violence against his patient. He stoically faces the offenses of a young boy regarding the drawing, yet fails to control himself when Will’s sneer is to be about Sean’s wife. What is the reason for Sean to obey professional rules and ethics, to violate his patient and to use strong words? We should consider the possibility that Sean had already reached the bottom of his life and he may consider this arrogant boy as his last patient and an epilogue for his own career. Nothing to lose and everything to gain is a mean to withdraw from the all-life guidelines. In fact, this act of aggression is the first step to leave a self-created comfort zone, a process that would be surpassed along with his young person under care.
Maybe you were in the middle of a storm, a big fuckin’ storm — the waves were crashing over the bow, the Goddamned mast was about to snap, and you were crying for the harbor. So you did what you had to do, to get out. Maybe you became a psychologist.
Within the first treatment interview, Will spill the blood by assuming about Sean’s wife. The second monologue rather than a dialogue in a park give Sean a chance to fight back and to shake Will’s confidence in making judgments. While making reference to the pure theoretical images of the world made by Hunting, Sean reveals Will how easy is to judge people on the basis of the appearance and how buggy these evaluations may be. He emphasizes that he does not intend to judge Will’s orphan’s life on the basis of ‘Oliver Twist’.
Do you think I would presume to know the first thing about who you are because I read «Oliver Twist?»And I don’t buy the argument that you don’t want to be here, because I think you like all the attention you’re getting.
Personally, I don’t care. There’s nothing you can tell me that I can’t read somewhere else.
What is the reason for these two such different men, a young individualist, and mentally devastated doctor, to become mutually dependent? Yes, Sean and Will did spend their early years in the same district of Boston (Will still does). Yet, the very matter which can be seen as the starting motive for this friendship deals with relative concern and simple unindifference. The previous five doctors were in fact of much concern about their time and income rather than the impact on the patient. At the moment when Sean reveals anger, emotions and even aggression against Will, Hunting feels this involvement and partaking and meaningfulness of the conversation. Will even manages his own self-re-education process along with new treatment interviews and his attitude to Sean evolutionizes. From the denial to the attempt to gain control (a one-hour session of silence) and then to a dependance with Will shouting on Sean that he is obliged to give him his time.
What do you mean «he didn’t talk?» You sat there for an hour?
No, he just sat there and counted the seconds until the session was over. It was pretty impressive, actually.
We can find the emotional and intellectual culmination in the legendary ‘It’s not your fault’ scene. Sean repeatedly says Will that it was not his fault as a born child to be dropped by parents. ‘It’s not your fault’ first faces denial than provokes aggression and finally, Will takes Sean in his arms crying. This most important catharsis of the movie will later lead Will to leave Boston and to take full responsibility for own life. Will now comes with an understanding that he could be what he is and be accepted by his friends and other people. He rises confidence and self-efficacy, a kind of certainty with the outer world. As the story comes to its end both men success to change their lives, to break the shell of the comfort zone and to leave the town. Will is on his way to California to be with Skylar and Sean intends to open India and to find a meaning of life. Both Will and Sean take responsibility and upgrade themselves to a new version.
Is that why me and Skylar broke up?
I didn’t know you had. Do you want to talk about that?
I don’t know a lot, Will. But let me tell you one thing. All this history, this shit…
Look here, son. This is not your fault.