Throwback Thursday: “Good Will Hunting”


Story by Daniel Mahoney, Reporter
Photo courtesy of

“What do you want to do?” A very simple question for young Will Hunting. When asked this question in regards to his life, he cannot seem to find the answer. Maybe it is a question that many of us have been asked and we stand dumb-founded, without a response.

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a young man with a genius-level IQ. But instead of engineering, he decides to be a janitor at MIT. While working as a janitor, he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem and is discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard). The professor seeks him out and discovers that he is now in prison for attacking a police officer. He makes a deal to get him out of prison and to start therapy with the professor’s old college roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams).

Robin Williams has only one award for all the movies that he has acted in. A well-known comedian, he was given the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor in a serious role. He won for “Good Will Hunting. Robin Williams will surprise you with his serious acting, but do not worry, he throws in his wit just to make sure we know it’s still him. Matt Damon’s poise as a troubled kid from Boston is stellar and complements Williams’s wit and intellectual sarcasm. Behind the characters, you can see a bond between Damon and Williams–a bond that strikes to the heart of fraternity. This movie exemplifies both the struggle and the redemption of the human mind in the power of relationships.

Will believed himself to be something he wasn’t. It is funny how, when we ask ourselves the simplest of questions, we realize they uncover the truths that lie deep within us. Sean sees this in Will and knows that the young man before him was searching for the truths he did not realize he was looking for. So Sean starts posing questions. A simple “What do you want to do?” becomes, “Why are you afraid of doing it?”, which then became, “Why did this happen to me?” Through the relationship between Sean and Will, we discover that there is something inside all of us that begs the deep reality of who we are. We find simply that we are not the evil that has been done in our lives. But that, like Will, we are good.

“Good Will Hunting” is rated R for strong language, including some sex-related dialogue. It was released on December 5, 1997. The movie won over 14 awards, including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. You can find it at your local video store or on Netflix. Some other well-known actors in the movie are: Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck, and Cole Hauser.


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