Good Will Hunting (1997)

Have you ever looked at a very fortunate somebody, blessed with some sort of gift the majority of people in the world would kill to steal, and yet they seem to really have no idea about what to do with those talents it irritates you so much to the very core of your bones?

But wait a sec. Do they really have to utilize it the way you think though? ‘Cause maybe, it is just this little world in our minds that keeps telling us to always aim for a greater good. Maybe, since they never actually asked to be born with such great gifts, it is not actually their faults that they’re not using–let alone maximizing–that massive luck the rest of the world wish they had been born with. But of course we’d all think oh what an arrogant, imbecile prick who wouldn’t use their frickin’ ability to achieve an actual something that makes the world a better place. Or at least to make jealous a bunch of losers who wished it had been them who achieve those stuff. Give it to me and I’ll aim high, I’ll land in a place where I have better chances to fix the world. In other words, a place where I can get more satisfaction about myself as a human being, having something bigger to claim that distinguishes me from the mediocre. Where I could feel secure about my accomplishments and stop worrying about my images in society.

After all, isn’t that what we’re after? Or has it ever solely been that pure intention of “I want to change the world“?

This post is not really a 100% review of the bloody brilliant movie that scored 97% on Rotten. After all, if a review is all you need you could simply google and find much better sources that had been made since the last twenty years. Yes, I’ve been 20 years late in reviewing this movie ever since it came out to the world, so why now; why bother writing it now?

Because there’s something, actually many things, about this movie that really intrigues and bothers me. A lot. And if you’ve watched this movie you should probably have good ideas about what I was referring to.

I am no psychologist, but it is not difficult to understand (or at least google and confirm that) humans are always hunger of appreciation, recognition, and thus achievements. I’d rather think about it as a nature that actually does us a favor, hence we’ll always keep on pursuing the goal of changing the world for betterment. People compete, try to be the best out of everyone else, try to prove the world that they’re not just another nobodies, wish to rule, and everything under the magic taglines of “making the [insert the name of the organization/environment/place they work in] a better place.” Of course, pointing out once again the fact that I don’t study psychology at all, I do not acknowledge whether that lovely intention actually comes first before the fact that they just want to stand out and be someone that everyone else looks up to and cheers about. Heck, if I were a psychology student this would’ve been my dissertation topic I guess.

I have no problems at all with the movie itself. It’s one heck of an applausible movie that I wish I had seen years ago, but at the same time I also thought what a perfect timing to watch it just now. ‘Cause there has been things that kind of bother my mind lately–to be exact about my education–and watching this movie really provokes further questions in my tiny little head.

For you who haven’t seen it, I’d spare a couple paragraphs to try to summarize it in my best attempt, but really you should go watch it yourself and hence ponder in the same trains of thoughts I’m sitting in right now. Will Hunting (played beautifully by young Matt Damon who made me realize how elegant his nose was) is a hidden gem of a genius mind that finds himself stuck in a harsh life far from the life we viewers would all think he deserves. He works as a janitor at MIT, regularly puts himself into troubles due to the street life he chooses, and does not really have goals in life before a professor finds out about what a talent this young padawan could use in order to–again, and I’m sort of tired to repeat this sentence for the umpteenth time–make the world a better place.

And of course someone that talented has to have one major problem that’s worth basing a movie plot on: he has no idea about what he wants to do with his talent, with his life. Classic lucky bastard. The whole plot will get you really curious about, “What will he finally choose to do for the rest of his life? It makes sense that he rejects those job offers because that’s not worth being put as a movie despite the fact that it settles him 84 grand a year at least, or a chance to be the modern life Alan Turing. So what fate does he choose?!”

And of course again, someone that talented has to have one major decision that makes you go, “What the actual F?!” Because [MAJOR SPOILER ALERT, do not tell me I did not warn you here!] he chooses… Oh well you know what you must go watch it yourself. But the clue is: it’s not really something that people in real life, at least people of the wrecked Earth of 21st century, would get away with. We modern societies of course would condemn this decision and judge him to be someone who does not appreciate what they got.

But then it makes me wonder. Why do I think it’s not worth it? Why do I think he could’ve done something better, something that does an actual benefit for the world? Why do I think he shouldn’t be so free to do that particular thing he ended up doing, even if that’s really something that he really wants for his life? Why do I dare to criticize his decision? It’s his life and not mine after all, no?

Before you’re saying that I’m irrelevant because in a split second I’d also be steering wheel to one topic that some people are probably pretty squeamish about and say, “Dude chill the hell out this is just a freakin’ movie!”, let me make this disclaimer: I am not complaining about the movie, I am simply questioning whether or not this case would be forgiven by societies should this happen in actual life we’re living in.

So, in my religion (yes that’s right I’m bringing up this topic up here), it is said that the true purpose of men living on Earth is to become the vicegerents. What is meant by the word vicegerent is to improve the world for and on behalf of God, to rule people, to apply the orders and recommendations of God among people, animals and non-living things. P.s.: that last sentence actually was just copied from here to avoid sensitive mistakes.

Which to some extent, also may explain why is it natural for us to want to improve our surroundings, apparently. Because it seems like God himself already puts that purpose inherently for us. But while it makes perfect sense that we wake up every morning trying to find a true meaning in life so that the whole time we spend breathing in and out oxygen does count and does not feel so empty, do things that we think would do good for the world even in the simplest way possible, and wish for a better living; it also makes sense that sometimes, we do not want the difficult jobs. Well, we’re again just flawed humans after all. And don’t get me wrong but “saving the world” sounds much like such an awesome yet overwhelming job that only the general secretary of United Nations might have the honor to do.

But again, there’s this famous quote by Spiderman the movie’s Uncle Ben that says, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And yes, Will Huntings of the world, that quote might be for you! You might set up an excuse for “not even wanting to be born with it” but you have it anyway now, and guess what? Now time to get some actual job done that most people wouldn’t be able to do, because they’re lacking the primary resource: the power. And the good news is, you might get great rewards too at the end of the day. Isn’t that what we’re always after, at the very least?

But of course this Will Hunting bastard does not even want the reward. So he hides between those brooms and dirty floors of an institution where all of the students would stab him to trade their brains with him, instead of at the very least be a professor or scientist and favors the world with some new scientific discoveries. I do not say that being a janitor is a worthless job, ’cause of course it’s an honorable job as well–but billions of the other citizens of the world could do it too, right. But being a man who breaks codes and possibly prevents lots of wars in the future? Think about how easy it is to not find a suitable brain that could handle such responsibility.

Thus the question. Is what Will Hunting did correct? Another clue to what he did was that, he ended up following his heart. And of course, this is what majority–if not all–movies have been always promoting about. If he does not feel like contributing for the world after what he has because he just didn’t feel like it, is he the most sinful man in the world now?

You know what, maybe he’s actually not. Maybe it’s just our perspectives that make us think that he is. Maybe the Earth is just so wrecked that we don’t want to and cannot let go a talent like his. Maybe even after what he chooses, he could still help the world by, say build an orphanage or basically do anything that does not really involve his Math talent, but still good. Maybe it could work that way.

Of course people would still go over and over about, “Look at that man, he has a brain of Einstein but chooses not to take any chance he’s offered. What a waste of talent.” But does the fact that the people complain matter?

It’s indeed going to be irritating to see such gift wasted. To wonder about all the potentials it could’ve opened had they been more wisely applied (at least according to our society’s standard of wise). But well, it’s someone else’s life. You don’t get to choose for them. You may criticize their options, but at the end of the day, they deal with their own consequences after all. The world just lost one shot of opportunity to unfold into a nicer place indeed, but guess what, everything has their own timing. We don’t get to see some complicated formulas solved today, ’cause our supposed-to-be MVP has just gone out enjoying life the way he wants to, but fate is never wrong. And I personally think, what’s more important to turn this crappy hole into a place worth living in is if people mind their own business and work on their own works.

I’m still a little bit mad at Will Hunting though, mostly because of the fact that he’s 21 when he decides what he wants to do, and I remember perfectly a couple years ago when I turned 21 I was far from sure about what I really wanted to do with my whole life. Maybe I’m just jealous over the fact that he gets to chase after what truly makes him happy. (Hey does it imply that I do not? Lol.)

Earlier I said that it was such a perfect timing for me to watch this movie because of what’s been going on in my mind lately, and I haven’t given a single clue regarding that. But now that I’ve been babbling a lot and possibly too much too, I might as well save the thoughts for the upcoming post. But I hope to still see you there.

Peace out.

Written by

A geologist, self-taught photographer, hobbyist writer, and wanderer who loves subtle colours, sunrays, mother nature, wilderness, adventures, flowers in the afternoon, quiet corners of a city, being literally - yet not figuratively - on top of the world, solo travels, trips by train, fascinating rocks, vintage postcards, and aesthetically pleasing urban landscapes.

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