When I first saw the movie "Good Will Hunting" I was impressed as a social science major. The movie provides a real world example to explain many tough social science concepts. In addition to the movie's delve into psychology, the underlying themes of the film have much to do with the area of communication studies. These ideas can be seen through the relationship of Will (Matt Damon) and his therapist Sean (Robin Williams) through the progression of their relationship during the movie.
In "Good Will Hunting", Will, the main character, is an physically abused orphan who works at MIT as a janitor and goes out bar hoping with his blue collar friends on the weekend. In the midst of this he hides the fact that he is a mathematical genius until he is discovered solving a near-impossible math problem on a blackboard at MIT. After a run-in with the law, a professor of mathematics from MIT, Gerald Lambeau, takes Will under his wing with the stipulation that Will attend regular therapy sessions. After scaring off several prestigious psychologists, Will meets his match in Sean, a therapist from a community college who refuses to give up on him.
In the film Sean and Will seem to develop a father-son relationship. It is found at the end of the film that both had been physically abused by father figures as children. Therefore, acting as a mentor by giving guidance, Sean begins to become the father Will never had; and Will becomes Sean's only human relationship since the death of his wife. The central theme seems to be Will's unwillingness to open up and talk about himself and his problems. He constantly diverts the attention from himself back onto Sean. To combat this, Sean opens up a little himself, perhaps helping to reassure Will that nothing bad will happen if he does share what he is feeling. In the end, Will's determination to keep years of pain and abandonment inside explodes and Sean is there to soften the blow.
A deeper understanding of Will's communication...
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