Good Will Hunting

As is illustrated in the Chinese edition title(心灵捕手), Sean not only hunts for the good will as a senior psychology professor but also undoes the knot in both Will’s and his heart. After reviewing the movie the third time, some fantastic lines and dialogues linger in my mind for such a long time that I chewed them over and over without languor.

Definitely Will’s marvelous talents in history, mathematics, literature and even organic chemistry can never be denied. He can defeat MIT professors in mathematics proof without any tough endeavor. He has the capability to quote large quantities of authentic literature to argue with Harvard students and ridicule them with the sentence “The education you got with fifteen thousand is accessible to those pay one point five to go to the public library”.

But Will Hunting is also a “typical” 21-year-old youngster, drinking with his buddies, getting into fights without hesitation, etc. Along with the pace of storyline, we slowly dug into his innermost psychological pain, which is caused by the repression in his upbringing. I still remember Will Hunting using “freedom of expression” to defense for his crime. Far from common sense, Will’s defense is understood as a rave and unbelief to the outside world personally. Will is just managing to express his anger and resentment, which not only hurts his lover but  hurts himself as well. His vulgar trick even drive up to five psychologist away.

There’s a great difference between the attitude to Will of Prof. Lambeau and Sean. Obviously, Lambeau is manipulating the 21-year-old brilliant boy while the other is trying his best to save him from secondary hurt. The wife of unfortunate Sean left him because of disease and Sean was immersed in grief for several years. When he recalled those tiny interesting time fragments, it’s surprising that what he mentioned is her farts! As Sean said, none of us is perfect and actually the good stuff is the imperfections. We don’t need to care whether one is perfect or not, what matters is whether or not you’re perfect for each other. And that’s what intimacy is all about.

Honestly Will knows a lot about philosophy, history, derivation, etc. However, he knows nothing about intimacy, he knows nothing about love. He is always fleeing from close relationships because he is afraid of hurt. So he chooses to go through the rest of his life without ever really knowing anybody. I don’t think it’s a “super” philosophy, actually it’s awful.

Fortunately, it’s tolerance and understanding that ultimately helps Will. While Sean saying “It’s not your fault” again and again ,we can see the changes in his expression, from resistance to relief and grievance. At last, he broke down and regain the confidence to embrace the totally new life.

Will’s buddy said to him at one time:

“Every day I come by to pick you up, and we go out drinking or whatever and we have a few laughs. But you know what the best part of my day is? The ten seconds before I knock on the door because I let myself think I might get there, and you’d be gone. I’d knock on the door and you wouldn’t be there. You just left.”

At the end of the film, Will did left.

Pure brilliance!

Appendix: the good will hunting problem which is assigned to MIT students as a linear algebra challenge.



  1. \[ L=\begin{bmatrix}0 & 1 & 0 &1 \\1 &0 &2 &1 \\ 0 &2 &0 &0 \\ 1 &1 &0 &0 \end{bmatrix} \]
  2. \[ L^{3}=\begin{bmatrix}2 & 7 & 2 & 3\\ 7 & 2 & 12 &7 \\ 2 & 12 & 0 & 2\\ 3 & 7 & 2 & 2\end{bmatrix} \]
  3. \[ f_{ij}=\sum_{k=0}^{+\infty}L^{k}_{ij}x^{k}=(\sum_{k=0}^{+\infty}(Lx)^{k})_{ij}=(E-Lx)^{-1}_{ij}\ \]
  4. \[ f_{13}=(E-Lx)^{-1}_{13}=\begin{bmatrix} 1&-x&&-x \\ -x & 1 & -2x & -x\\& -2x & 1 & \\ -x & -x &&1 \end{bmatrix}^{-1}_{13}=\frac{2x^{2}}{4x^{3}-6x^{2}-x+1} \]