Healing doesn’t happen in isolation and it isn’t a prerequisite or even a result of relationship. Rather, healing only comes in relationship. By engaging with the film Good Will Hunting, we have the privilege of living this terrifying reality alongside its central character, Will Hunting [Matt Damon].
The writing feels real, so much so that I had to do some research to prove to a friend that it wasn’t based on a true story. The writers, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, are real life, childhood friends and the reality of their friendship seeps into the seams of the story they create; a story spattered with relationship pairs woven together to tell a powerful story. Chuck [Ben Affleck] and Will. Will and Sean [Robin Williams]. Sean and Professor Lambeau [Stellan Skarsgard]. Professor Lambeau and Will. Will and Skylar [Minnie Driver]. Each relationship becomes a microcosm for the process of healing.
With subtlety and nuance, Good Will Hunting reveals the impact that history has on our experience of the present and our fears for the future. We see the power of loyalty, friendship, and just how much it means to have someone believe in you. We see that healing is risky, but it’s the only way to live. And we are reminded that the terrible, ugly, and broken things that happen to us along the way are not our fault.