On my second viewing of Good Will Hunting, some lines still moved me to tears, especially Sean, the mentor’s remark about Life and Art. When he uttered these words, it seemed as if he was talking to me, not Will Hunting, the genius kid he was trying to help. Besides these, the part dealing with true friendship is also touching. These significant lines were illustrated as follows:
I. Life and Art
Sean: if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo. You know a lot about him; life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up with that beautiful ceiling.
If I asked you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You may even have been laid a few times, but you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid.
I ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? “Once more into the march, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watch him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help.
I ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable, known someone who could level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on Earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand ’cause the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms of visiting hours don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you love something more than yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.
I look at you, I don’t see an intelligent, confident man, I see a cocky, scared-shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will, no one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you, but you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine. You ripped my life apart.
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Art is the best invention to save us from the imperfect, mundane reality of Life. The sublime, dazzling palace of Art denies the entrance of Life. The diverse compartments of the palace accommodate painters and poets, who dedicate themselves to creating beauty and harmony out of Life’s chaos. They are always my soul mates, with whom I converse mentally and to whom I pay extreme homage, so extreme that I shun Life tangled by trivialities and depravities. I always take shelter in the serene palace of Art to flee the tribulations of the sea of Life. Call me an “inveterate escapist”” and I will answer the call smugly. Now, Sean, you point to my tragic flaw and rebuke my preference of Art to Life. Although I didn’t sit in dust and ashes, repenting my escapist mentality, I did sit in tears, acknowledging my disgust of dealing with real Life, my arrogance of judging everything by theory, and my intolerance of imperfections!
I can recite Shakespeare’s sonnet “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,” and still ridicule eternal love as the impossible ideal fabricated by poets. Dear Sean, you don’t regret every single day you spent with your wife. You even regard her imperfections, like farting in bed as the most valuable memory in your life. Has it occurred to you that you treasure her so much just because she is dead? If she were not dead, would you love her so much as you now claim? Aye, the deceased ones have the upper hand---they eradicate the sprouting of hatred which always comes after love. “I had no time to Hate –/Because/ The Grave would hinder me –/ And Life was not so ample I/ Could finish Enmity.”See? Emily Dickens also feels Death annuls all the monstrous animosity deep rooted in human nature. Undeniably, you are the paragon of Romantic Love in its perfect form--- loving your couple more than yourself, holding her hand to the last minute of her life. The manifestation of loyalty to one’s spouse is very inspiring and touching indeed. The base world, after all, needs a lofty ideal to sustain.
II. True Friendship
Chuckie: Look you’re my best friend, so don’t take this the wrong way, but in twenty years, if you’re still living here coming over to my house watching the Patriot’s game, still workin’ construction, I’ll kill you. That’s not a threat, that’s a fact.
Will: What the hell are you talking about?
Chuckie: Look, you got something none of us has.
Will: Oh come on, why is it always this. I mean I owe it to myself to do this. What if I don’t want to?
Chuckie: No, no, no . You don’t owe it to yourself, you owe it to me. ‘Cause tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and I’ll be fifty and I’ll still be doin’ this shit and that’s all right, that’s fine. I mean you’re sittin’ on a winning lottery ticket and you’re too much of a pussy to cash it in and that’s bullshit ’cause I’d do ‘ anything to have what you got! So would any of these guys. It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in twenty years. Hangin’ around here is a waste of your time.
Will: You don’t know that.
Chuckie: I don’t?
Will: No, you don’t know that.
Chuckie: Oh, I don’t know that. Let me tell you what I do know. Every day I come by your house and I pick you up, and we go out, we have a few drinks and a few laughs and it’s great. Know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, ’cause I think maybe I’ll get up there, and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there. No goodbye, no see ya later, no nothing you just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.
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Sean: And why does he hang out with those retarded gorillas, as you called them? Because any one of them, if he asked them to, would take a fucking bat to your head, okay? That’s called loyalty.
Fighting for friends, be it a justified cause or not, is regarded as an act of “loyalty” among adolescents. The youth mentality is featured by love of danger. Passions are the driving force of their action. As a teacher, I used to frown on it but gradually, I learn to sympathize with it, knowing that under their tough and reckless behavior lies the eager assertion of selfhood. Also, true friendship consists in the appreciation of others’ talents and helping them to bear fruits. It is not just hanging out, seeking pleasures, and sharing pains together. All these turn insipid after long indulgence. But, the wish for others to be good turns immortal!