There was a time that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were just two young actors trying to make their way in the tough game of Hollywood. Sure, they got work here and there (Damon picking up small supporting roles in School Ties and Courage Under Fire; Affleck in Dazed and Confused, Mallrats and Chasing Amy), but they still weren’t swinging much higher than other young actors at the same time.
Then they wrote a script called Good Will Hunting, which launched the pair of them instantly to stardom and Academy Award-winner status. And, like Chayefsky’s script for Network, Good Will Hunting is not afraid of a good monologue.
The lead character, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), is pretty much the most intellectually gifted character in the entire film. However, he’s also suffered serious emotional and physical abuse as he grew up, so has come to rely on his intellect as his means of defence against anyone and anything that comes near. Able to think and talk circles around anyone, he develops an almost bullying nature, overpowering all he encounters… until he meets Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), a therapist appointed to help Will deal with his anger. Sean isn’t really as smart as Will (and they both know it), but he is smart enough to know how to disarm him. Will’s defence mechanism is born only of intellect, not of real experience. As such, Sean’s systematic dismantling of how Will tries to deal with people breaks down the young man’s shield and for the first time we see him left as dumbstruck as he is so used to leaving others.
Setting the scene: After their first session meeting, in which Will goaded Sean far enough that the therapist threatened to kill him, the pair meet soon again for another try. Clearly shaken by this encounter, Sean arranges for them to meet a second time on a park bench by a pond, where he plans to explain to the cocky young genius why exactly his previous tricks won’t work on him anymore…