“Hey, have you seen this movie? What did you think about THAT SCENE?!” We have all used that phrase at one point during our discussions of movies with the other person’s eyebrows raising, “Oh yea, THAT SCENE!” You go on to pick that memorable scene apart by listing what you loved or didn’t like, how it made you feel and the impression it left on you.
In this series, we will do just that. We will take a scene from a movie and discuss its impact on us. Some of these scenes may be frightening, weird, iconic, controversial, hilarious and everything in between. Let us know your impression of the scene and the impact it left on you the first time you watched it down below in the comments. Enjoy!
*Warning: May Contain Spoilers*
Movie: Good Will Hunting (1997)
Scene: ‘Your Move Chief’
Director: Gus Van Sant
Characters: Sean (Robin Williams) and Will (Matt Damon)
23-year-old self-taught genius and general menace to society, Will Hunting works odd jobs in between drinking with his buddies and getting into fights for no reason. While working as a janitor at MIT, he is able to successfully answer an incredibly difficult equation that astonishes everyone. When no one comes forward to claim their pat on the back, Professor Lambeau posts another more difficult equation in which he catches Will in the act of solving. Once it is confirmed this janitor had solved the problem correctly, Lambeau decided to track him down. Will and his buddies start a fight with an old bully as Will ends up arrested for hitting a police officer trying to break the fight up. Lambeau is able to work out a deal for Will to skip jail time if he studies math and participates in therapy.
Will reluctantly agrees but goes on to mack everyone of his appointed renowned therapists until they are unwilling to work with him. Enter Lambeau’s old college roommate in community college teacher Dr. Sean Maguire. Sean is not bullied by Will and actually challenges Will’s defense mechanisms to the point of physically assaulting Will when he hits a nerve. That brings us to our scene.
This scene is all Robin Williams and he absolutely owns every second of it. It’s essentially a monologue that slaps Will and his antagonistic ways right in the face without Sean ever raising his voice. We had seen that Robin Williams was an incredible actor before but this goes down as one of his very best acting performances of all time.
To me, this is the scene that won him the Oscar that year. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t seem like he is acting at all but he speaks with such authority and passion that it is like a dagger to the heart of an entire generation that knows so much but has lived so little. Matt Damon isn’t all lost in here either. His cockiness at the beginning turned to straight humility and self-reflection at the end is really well done. He is all of us sitting and listening to this speech. If he doesn’t bookend the scene as he does, it may not have had the same impact.
What do you think of Williams’ speech and acting here? Do you think this is the scene that won Williams the Oscar that year?