For this paper, I will be discussing the very popular movie Good Will Hunting directed by Gus Van Sant. This movie I believe held an amazing storyline the entire time. This was greatly in part because of some of the production and technical effects that were displayed. The visual effects, setting, and lighting, helped demonstrate his background as a person and where Will came from.
The first section I will be covered to illustrate how the story was told well is through the lighting that was used.
The lighting in the film changes between the different settings that were shown. This was shown the difference in the vastly different social classes that were there. I like to think that the lighting shows the contrast between hope and merely existing. For example, the lighting in the lower economic environments like Will’s house or the janitor’s office and the South Boston bar is dim and bleak, almost giving the feel of despair.
While in opposition, places such as MIT which is where Will worked, and the job interviews are brighter and the colors appear to be more vibrant. I believe this was to highlight their wealth and higher social class. I believe there is an overall warmer feeling involved and gives a different feeling.
Another element to the story was the variations in language and dialogue that were used in the film. The language and dialogue is an important verbal element in the film to show background differences. The contrasts between characters had a big effect in pointing out their different attitudes and social groups.
The more prominent and smart characters like Professor Lambeau and Clark use more language that is intricate and sophisticated. The characters that were Will’s friends would even make fun of the fancier language and go out of their way to elaborate their thick Boston accents. For example, instead of using the word “perrier”, they would scoff and call it club soda. Lambeau would have great sophisticated language during the entire film and that would not resonate well with Will. He would use language that was more usual for his surroundings and where he was from, which was in the lower-middle-class groups. There were smaller characters in the film too that would use this lower-class language such as Will’s friend Chuckie. Chuckie would use extremely informal language and be cussing a lot. This would help show further where Will came from and what the people he grew up with were like. Hearing this gave the viewers a better understanding of Will’s background. There would be many instances where Will would use that lower-class language, but he would also show that he was well versed in the use of “sophisticated” or “higher class” language. Because of this ability to use both forms of languages, I feel that it broke a lot of barriers as to who can be apart of a certain demographic. Though there is an overwhelming feeling that the higher groups are “better” or “smarter” than the lower classes, it is not true that one cannot compete with the other. This also shows the overall message of the story and Will exemplified it. That he had the potential to move up or down and a totem pole that he wanted. The world was his oyster, the only thing stopping him was himself
The last section I am going over that added to the story for me was the music. Music is another technique used throughout the film to show aspects of Will’s personality and character. The songs played in the Harvard bar scene established the social environment, upper social class. The band appealed to that demographic of university students and had lyrics which were ironic. I researched some of the songs in the film and some to mention were by Elliot Smith and Gerry Rafferty. They had a lot of parallels to Will’s life. In the song played by Smith which was called ‘say yes,’ there were lyrics that stated “I’m damaged at best” and “she’ll decide what she
wants” which had close correlations to what was currently going on in Will’s life with his battles within himself and with his lover. Due to his childhood of abuse, he attains many emotional detachment problems. He also has a problem with wanting to take risks and go for things, because of fears of losing or failing. This was due to him having already lost a lot in his life. Another song played in the film was a song by Gerry Rafferty. This song reflects a lot of what Will has gone through and what his background embodies. “You’ll drink the night away” reflects on his alcoholic family background and something that is commonplace in his surroundings. “This city desert makes you feel so cold”, is another parallel to a part of his life that I have previously touched on and represents his lack of fulfillment that he feels within himself. and “light in your head and dead on your feet” talks about how he uses drinking and fighting as an escape from reality, and thus becoming quite unstable. The culture surrounding Will is echoed through the use of music, which helps show themes relating to Will’s life.
In conclusion, the movie “Good Will Hunting” kept a consistent storyline with the visual effects, language, and music. They all were a big part of how Will was personified as a character and where he came from with his background. Because of the major technical effects displayed, it led to a masterpiece of a film and is one of the most popular movies of all time.