Will and Chuckie are old friends that go out together drinking and fighting in southern Boston, Massachusetts. Will got a job as a janitor from his Parole Officer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suppressing his talent for memorizing books at a single, page-at-glance reading and solving impossible math puzzles that baffle graduate students until his 21st year. While working there, the award winning math professor Gerald Lambeau puts one of the hardest math theorems on the blackboard outside of class. Will solved it immediately. He meets a girl named Skylar at a Harvard bar. She ends up changing his life. Show shows him love that he has never had. She is moving to California and wants will to come with her, but he doesn't want to, so she goes without him. Just days after meeting Skylar, Will and his friends get in a fight with a gang harassing a girl on the street, but Will resists arrest when the cops come and faces jail time. The judge sentences him to jail since he hit a cop. The math Professor Gerald Lambeau, strikes a deal with Will: he will have the charges dropped if Will agrees to see a psychiatrist once a week and meet with him to discover the depth of Will's genius. Will reluctantly agrees and after meeting with a series of unwilling shrinks, Lambeau appeals to his college roommate Sean Maguire, a professor of psychology at the local community college. This professor changes his life also. During one of the last sessions with Sean, Will has an emotional breakthrough while Sean reassures him that it's not his fault, because of the child abuse by his foster father. The next day, Chuckie shows up at Will's house to pick him up for work, but Will isn't there. Will drops off a note at Sean's house, where Sean is packing his bags to "re-enter" the world. Will's note tells Sean that he "has to go see about a girl" and Will ends up driving to California to be with Skylar.
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