Rich Paxson

I wrote the following in response to the ‘Receiving goodness from God’ question: “Why might God want to gift us with some revisions to our current story of goodness?”

I’m watching Good Will Hunting (1997) on Netflix, in segments as I have the time. Although it takes longer to watch in this ‘broken-up’ way, I am finding that I remain as involved with the movie, but differently than if I viewed it all at once. It feels more like reading a novel than watching a movie.

Good Will Hunting is about how self-taught, mathematics, savant Will Hunting’s story of goodness gets revised. Will, who is played by Matt Damon, and his therapist Sean Macguire, played by Robin Williams, are the leading characters. Will Hunting greatly needs to revise his “current story of goodness,” and yet he uses his prodigious intellect to deflect personal change. Will’s ‘social other’ connects him with Macguire, who actively listens Will into life-changing, emotional connection.

This is the first Robin Williams movie I’ve watched since his suicide, a viewing experience that touches an aching in me in relation to Williams’s forceful talent. Playing an empathic, healing, therapist in the movie, Williams in his personal life ultimately could not find the healing, the forgiveness for his story, that his character Sean so ably awakened in good Will Hunting.