BOOKS/FILMS/AUTHORS--USEM4a--1998

Good-Will Hunting by Gus Van Sant

Truth was the theme that seemed to tie everyone (and everything) in the film together. . . . Will learned about truth from three main sources: his friends, his lover, and his mentor. . . . .Will had educated himself about history, science, mathematics, you name it, but it took the care and advice of those that loved him for him to understand truth and want to change his life (and "go see about a girl").

One idea that the movie raised for me was the intellectual ability of Ben Affleck's character. . . . It was obvious that Will's genius should compel him to reach for high goals, but it seemed to me that in many ways Ben was the most mature member of the group. His sound advice to Matt by the truck is probably the main reason Matt decided to face his responsibilities. It made me a little bit sad to think that someone as street smart as Ben doesn't consider himself worthy of a more demanding career. Then again, Ben's character seems to be at peace with himself and could end up a lot happier than many adults with a college education and corporate employment.

I think Gus Van Sant was trying to show the difference between people who use their knowledge and education for their own happiness and growth and those who use it for pure status. . . . This movie makes one think about the reasons one has for attending college. Is it for the pure satisfaction of learning . . . . Or is it so one can show off their diploma after graduation day? This movie showed me that getting a formal education in a high priced school is something to be thankful for and to not take it for granted.

The main theme of the movie was that in order to move on in life, one has to conquer one's fears. . . . . One question that the movie raised for me was what is more important, happiness or recognition? Would the main character truly have been happy with the recognition that he would have gotten at his job in Boston? I think the answer is no and that reason is why he decided to go to California.

One question that the film posed was what is an "intellectual": is it just having a wealth of knowledge or do emotions and feelings play an important role in who is truly the most intelligent and well off in this world? . . . When Will discovered his love for Sklyar, he went from being a kid genius to an intellectual man. . . . I truly enjoyed this film. I had seen it before but never from an educational standpoint and it changed my perception of the story.

After seeing the thought provoking film Good Will Hunting, I viewed education, especially the formal aspect of it, differently. For me the word education automatically brings to mind a classroom and a teacher. The movie demonstrates that learning not only occurs in the classroom but in life experiences and at home.

In Good Will Hunting, we are taught that true knowledge stems more from living life itself than from any written text. . . .Robin Williams' character tells Will Hunting that he may know every little nuance of Michelangelo's life, but he has never smelled the inside of the Sistine Chapel. Additionally, we learn that intelligence can come from any walk of life, as we can see by lookng at both Will, a street thug and janitor, and Skylar, a Harvard student who had come to the United States via a prestigious boarding school in Britain.

A young boy who has spent his entire life being hurt and left by those who he is supposed to care about learns to become defensive to even the most precious people in his life. . . . In many ways, intelligence can give you an escape from reality. . . . Will uses his intelligence as protection. He uses it to protect his friends in the bar scene; he admits that "Shakespeare and Emerson" are the people with whom he associates.

I learned that it is possible to be a genius and still not understand the basic truths that our society thrives on. For example: the capacity of love cannot be gained by reading Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, as Will found out.

From Good Will Hunting, I learned that an individual with skill alone cannot succeed. . . . Will is looking for motivation in life . . . . [he] has the skill, but lacks the will. . . . For me, Good Will Hunting made me ask myself it it was okay to be undecided on my major.

Sean was hired to help Will. In doing so, Sean was oblivious to the fact that Will was doing the same for Sean. When Sean's wife died, he closed his world. While he was preaching to Will, he realized that he had to take his own advice. Indirectly, Sean was helping himself through helping Will.

Once Will learned how to share himself with others, his intelligence became even greater. What I realized . . . is that people teach each other lessons that cannot be taught in school. . . . Seeing a movie such as this one reminds me to stop and look at the situation I am in and who I am surrounded by.

Many points of view are represented throughout this movie, three of them being from a professor, a college student, and a person leraning on his own time. . . . One thing of importance that this movie taught me was that it doesn't take a college atmosphere to make a person educated. It only takes an open mind willing to work, experience, grow, and strive for excellence.