Analysis of the Film Good Will Hunting Essay

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Set in South Boston, Good Will Hunting is about Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a young man who immerses himself in books, drinking and friends to escape his anger and frustration stemming largely from his past experiences with abusive foster families. Will and his best friend, Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck), hang out together with their small group of friends in impoverished areas of Boston, drinking and occasionally fighting down in Southie. Will works menial jobs, hiding his incredible genius (such as a talent for memorizing facts and an intuitive ability to solve complex math equations).

While Will is working as a janitor at MIT, Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård), a Fields Medalist and combinatorialist, puts a difficult
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Will is arrested, and during his arrest hits a cop, which seems to guarantee that he will be facing jail time.

Lambeau meets with Will after the court hearing and lays out his options: Either he can go to jail, or he can be released under Lambeau's personal supervision, as per a deal that Lambeau worked out with the judge privately. The latter option comes with two conditions: Firstly, Will must work on advanced mathematics with Lambeau, and secondly, he must see a therapist.

Will does extremely well in the math sessions with Lambeau; however, he is averse to seeing a therapist, and quickly drives off several well known therapists whom Lambeau has arranged for him to see. On the verge of giving up, Lambeau takes Will to meet his former college roommate, a psychologist, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), who teaches at Bunker Hill Community College, to mostly uninterested, uninspired students.

After a difficult start, Sean concludes that Will's defensiveness is the result of years of physical and emotional abuse, (as well as intense isolation), and that his hostile, sarcastic, and evasive behaviors are all defense mechanisms. The two work together to break through Will's considerable barriers, using a certain type of psychotherapy, and to get at the heart of the problem, dealing with Will's complex emotions. The two begin to relate to each other more, with Sean telling Will about his past and his happiness with his now
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