When Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were still up-and-coming actors, the two friends wrote a movie together that would change their careers forever. Good Will Hunting was a hugely acclaimed genre that earned Affleck and Damon Oscars for their screenplay as well as a Best Supporting Actor trophy for Robin Williams.
Though it is a fairly simple story of a genius from an unexpected background, Good Will Hunting is filled with intense, powerful, and funny scenes that highlight the excellent writing. It features so many memorable lines that will stay with audiences for a long while.
Updated on November 17th, 2021 by Colin McCormick: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck first collaborated on writing Good Will Hunting which launched them as Hollywood stars. Decades later, they joined forced once again to write this year's The Last Duel. Sadly, despite solid reviews, that movie didn't find the same success as their last screenplay together. However, Good Will Hunting remains a thoughtful, entertaining, and powerful drama. It is also a testament to Damon and Affleck's writing that there are countless memorable lines throughout the movie.
Morgan Praises Will
Morgan: "My boy's wicked smart."
Though it is a smaller part of the overall story, Will's friendship with his neighborhood buddies is very charming. While some think such people hold Will back, he that he is truly himself around these guys and that they treat him like he's a normal guy.
When it comes to Will's intelligence, his friends see how brilliant he is, yet they don't let it change how they see him. After Will embarrasses an arrogant Harvard student in a bar, his friend Morgan turns to the impressed girls and says, "My boy is wicked smart," summing up their pride in Will while still seeing him as their same old friend instead of some genius prodigy.
Will Stands Up For Himself
Will: "Yeah, maybe, but at least I won't be unoriginal."
Though Will is happy sticking to his more working-class life and hiding his amazing genius from the world, one memorable scene shows just how extraordinary he is while sticking up for one of his friends.
After calling out the Harvard student for quoting someone else's work, the pompous young man attempts to insult Will by claiming he'll be rich while Will likely will be serving fast food. Will takes that in stride, taking comfort in the fact that his thoughts will be his own.
Sean Puts Will In His Place
Sean: "You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist?"
Will's first meeting with Sean doesn't go well as Will presumes too much about Sean's wife which enrages him. However, Sean gives the boy another shot but still decides to put him in his place.
Sean points out how Will has read a lot about life in books, but there's so much he doesn't know about actual experiences. He reasons that, as Will is an orphan, Sean couldn't understand what he went through just because he read Oliver Twist. It is a thought-provoking glimpse at the movie's theme of what true intelligence is.
Sean Teaches Will About Loss
Sean: "You don't know about real loss 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself."
Sean is a bit of a tragic character himself as his life was torn apart when he lost his wife to cancer years ago. Will's insensitive comment triggers those feelings again, but he then realizes that it is simply Will's own ignorance that is the problem.
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Sean is able to turn Will's insult around on him and make him realize that the only reason he could possibly make a comment like that is that he hasn't experienced loss in his life because he hasn't experienced love.
Sean Understand Will
Sean: "He pushes people away before they get a chance to leave him."
As part of Will's work agreement, he is required to see a psychiatrist. However, it proves to be more difficult than it seems as Will insults and ridicules all of the potential candidates who are brought in to see him.
It takes a psychiatrist like Sean Maguire, who is from the same neighborhood as Will, to really see past all of his nonsense. Sean is able to recognize that Will doesn't trust people and pushes them away to protect himself. By seeing this, Sean is able to gradually break through and reach Will when no one else could.
Chuckie Makes A Deal
Chuckie: "Allegedly, your situation, for you, would be concurrently improved if I had $200 in my back pocket right now."
Though he doesn't take a starring role alongside Damon, Ben Affleck gives a terrific supporting performance as Will's best friend Chuckie. He adds a nice comedic relief to the movie, especially in the scene where Will sends Chuckie in his place to do a job interview.
Chuckie is completely unintimidated in the room of professionals while posing as Will and even works the situation to his advantage. He not so subtly hints that a bride would help to convince him to take the job on the table.
Skylar And Will Find Each Other
"Well, you found me."
The romance between Will and Skylar is another interesting relationship in the movie. As they get to know each other and fall in love, they find that they share a connection neither of them seemed to expect.
During one of their dates, Skylar laments that it had taken her so long to find Will and he simply responds, "Well, you found me." It speaks to how their relationship has its struggles, but that their being together is all that matters.
Will Turns Down A Job
"Why shouldn't I work for the NSA? That’s a tough one but I'll take a shot."
One of the most fascinating things about the character of Will is how his intelligence clashes with the way he was brought up. He has a brilliant mind yet he also has all these defense mechanisms that cause him to push back.
This makes for a hilarious sequence in which Will interviews for a job at the NSA. When told by the recruiter that it is a question of why he wouldn't take the job, Will goes into a long monologue about how his codebreaking could have various disastrous effects.
Sean Talks About True Love
Sean: "People call these things imperfections, but they're not, that's the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds."
Once Sean and Will become friends, their conversations become much more open, with Will finally talking about things he was tried to hide from his entire life. Likewise, Sean opens up about his wife, including a hilarious story about how she farted in her sleep.
After the two men share a laugh over the story, Sean points out that those are the things he remembers. Something that might seem strange to others become endearing between couples. It is an important lesson for Will to learn as he tries to open his heart.
Chuckie's Wish For Will
Chuckie: "For about 10 seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, 'cause I think, maybe I'll knock on the door and you won't be there."
Though Chuckie is a comedic character, he is also a constant source of support in Will's life. The two men are inseparable and really care for each other. And Chuckie shows how much he cares for Will in this heartbreaking scene.
After Will suggests he will stick around their neighborhood his whole life, Chuckie confronts him about it. He admits that, as much as he loves Will, every day he hopes he will leave without saying goodbye in order to escape the life Chuckie and the others are unable to.
Sean Sees Through Will
Sean: "You're just a kid, you don't have the faintest idea what you're talkin' about."
When it comes to being smart, Will seems to want to have it both ways. He wants to live his normal down-to-earth life with his friends, but he also carries an arrogance in knowing he's smarter than everyone.
However, Sean is the first person that really challenges Will on his view of himself. Though he might be intelligent in a lot of ways, Sean explains to Will that he is still just a young kid who has a lot to learn about the world.
Sean Advises Will On His Love Life
Sean: "You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you've met, she's not perfect either."
Love is a gamble and relationships aren't perfect, which is enough for Will to shy away from even trying. If he gave someone a chance his life would have been so different, but instead his traumatic experiences as a child halt him from having any form of real attachment.
Once Will met someone who gave him a chance, his defenses rose and he backed away. But this is what Will is missing, the blind leap of faith of emotionally investing in a relationship that could become something beautiful in the long run.
Will Makes His Decision
Will: "I have to go see about a girl."
Much of the movie is about the question of what is right for Will. Is staying where he is squandering his potential, or is his intelligence getting in the way of him being happy? In the end, instead of choosing the life he knows or the path of success, Will chooses to pursue love.
It is a touching moment when Will leaves the note for Sean indicating that he is going to be with Skylar. Will chooses to allow himself to find love for the first time and makes a decision not based on what others want for him, but what he wants for himself. It is a message that stands out as a timeless aspect of Good Will Hunting.
Will Leaves Sean A Letter
Sean: "Son of a b****... He stole my line."
In his Oscar-winning role, Robin Williams shows why he's an amazing actor. He plays his role with such subtlety and charm while keeping his comedic energy grounded.
But Williams' amazing skills as an improviser were put to great use in his final line of the movie that he ad-libbed in the moment. Sean finds a letter left for him by Will explaining that he "had to see about a girl," calling back to Sean's own memory of meeting his wife. His reserved happiness for Will along with jokingly complaining about his line being stolen is a lovely way to end the movie.
Will Shows Off
Will: "Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?"
In a movie with so many powerful and thought-provoking lines, it is strange how its silliness line gets the most attention. After Will embarrasses the Harvard student, he meets Skylar and hits it off with her.
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As Will and his friends are leaving, he spots the same arrogant student. He asks the man if he likes apples, then says "Well I got her number. How do you like them apples?" Again, it is goofy, but it is also hard not to laugh while also being satisfied by the small victory.
Sean Talks About Taking The Good And The Bad
Sean: "You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to."
Will focuses on the negative aspects of every relationship he's been in, which is why he's been alone all his life. Sean's advice to him is everything, if Will would only give someone a chance he'll realize all that he's missing.
Additionally, this is one of those timeless quotes that apply to everyday life, relationships, and social situations. Bad stuff happens, but it's in those moments where you can either realize what you did wrong and grow, or wallow in self-pity and remain the same.
Sean Helps Will Let Go
Sean: "It's not your fault."
The bond between Sean and Will grows throughout the movie until Sean finally breaks through to Will with this simple phrase, repeated over and over until his self-loathing mind accepts the truth.
Will detached himself from others because no one ever accepted and loved him. Instead of looking for help, he blamed himself and bottled it all up. By making a joke of it all he buried years of emotional trauma until it bursts out of him. It is a powerful moment that also feels like a relief.
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