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Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant, 1997) is a film about interpersonal relations and human goals, and the style of the film reflects this as the director places the camera in the action as up-close observer. The low-key style is evident in the opening scene as Chuckie picks up Will, and the two meet on the porch and walk to the car without speaking, performing actions they obviously do every day. The director takes great care throughout in the placement and movement of the camera to keep the actions real, to avoid undercutting the interpersonal connections made between characters, and to suggest thematic interests and concerns in ways that convey what is meant to the viewer through subtle cues that are part of the language of the film. One particular series of scenes early in the film shapes what follows, expresses the theme directly, and foreshadows what is to come.

A short but important scene in the early portion of the film occurs when Will and his friends get out of their car to beat up on some young toughs who are acting rudely in their neighborhood. This scene suggests the pent-up anger in Will, anger which has been hinted at before but which now emerges full-blown. It was suggested earlier in the bar scene when the Michael Bolton lookalike interfered when Will was talking to Skylar, but then he seemed to have some justification. There was also a social class element in the confrontation, with the working-class kid facing off with the rich student and besting him. Van Sant makes good use of the fight on the playground to suggest the depth of Will's disturbed nature. This is key to what follows as he goes into therapy with Sean, and it has not been made clear prior to this. The fight itself is not well prepared for--it is not clear what the fight is about, though as it progresses it is evident that fighting is a way for Will to release energy and frustration. We learn how some of that frustration has developed in a la...

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Good Will Hunting. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:45, February 21, 2024, from