Good Will Hunting (1997)


In Memory of Robin McLaurin Williams

(1951 – 2014)


good will hunting

Directed by Gus Van Sant, Good Will Hunting was the first screenplay ever written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who starred in the film alongside Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgård.

The film tells a story about a young man named Will Hunting who grows up severely abused, and as a result, lacks the ability to trust, or develop meaningful relationships. Working as a janitor at M.I.T., Will also happens to be an exceptional genius. When he’s noticed by the school’s renowned math professor because of his incredible mathematical abilities, the professor puts in a request to an old friend, to help Will work out his emotional issues. Dr. Sean Maguire (Williams), a psychology teacher at a local Community College, agrees to take Will on as a patient.

As Will resists treatment, the sessions are initially rocky, but aside from therapy his only option is incarceration for assault. As sessions continue after the initial clash, Will begins to find value in their exchange and is eventually prompted to re-evaluate what’s important beyond intellect and basic survival. Sean is faced with some hard looks inward, as well. He continues to mourn his wife’s death, and years later still refuses to consider the possibility of ever being close with another woman again. When Will challenges that notion, it deeply rattles Sean. The two run the emotional gamut together, slowly helping one another disassemble walls they’ve built around themselves.

Good Will Hunting was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and won two. Robin Williams won Best Supporting Actor, and the award for Best Original Screenplay went to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Although a very touching film, a first screenplay by two young punks would have never merited the same level of praise without that certain magic that Williams added. He was rare. When he performed, there was only the moment and what he brought to it.


Robin, thank you for baring your soul and making us love you for it. You’ll be missed so so much, and remembered for the legacy of joyous brilliance you left. I feel like I’ve lost a lifelong friend, not a celebrity. Peaceful travels. It won’t be the same here without you.




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