Film #32: Good Will Hunting

“I’m going to see about a girl.” Tonight I re-watched the classic Good Will Hunting. This movie will hold a special place in my heart because it is one of the great Social Work movies of all time.

Robin Williams plays a disgruntled Social Worker trying to get through to a troubled genius prodigy. A janitor at MIT, Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) has a gift for math and chemistry that can take him light-years beyond his blue-collar roots, but he doesn’t realize his potential and can’t even imagine leaving his childhood Boston South End neighborhood, his construction job, or his best friend. To complicate matters, several strangers enter the equation: a brilliant math professor who discovers, even envies, Will’s gifts, an empathetic shrink who identifies with Will’s blue-collar roots, and a beautiful, gifted pre-med student who shows him, for the first time in his life, the possibility of love.

This movie does an excellent job of tugging the heart strings and driving home the damage that domestic disputes can have on even the most brilliant of people. Further more, the film demonstrates the impact of a good friend and the long lasting, positive effects of a trusted confidant.

I think that even though this movie was written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, they truly nailed the characters and the emotional struggles that they were trying to illustrate in this movie. I will always love watching this film, as it shows a more “un-conventional” approach to social work, and will always teach me that sometimes straying outside the boundaries of what is normal and acceptable will be what helps the client the most. Also the movie demonstrated the power of empathy and genuinely caring for another human being to a T.


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