One of the best scenes from Good Will Hunting was posted by Robin Williams
A classic scene from the Oscar-winning film Good Will Hunting was completely improvised by Robin Williams. However, it worked so well that it got left in it.
One of the most famous scenes from the Oscar-winning drama Goodwill hunting was actually improvised by its legendary star Robin Williams. Coming at a crucial turning point in the film, the scene not only imbues Williams’ character with true humanity, but also serves as a timely reminder of his formidable acting abilities. It’s also, unsurprisingly considering the performer involved, both heartwarming and absolutely hilarious.
The film itself tells the story of young Boston janitor and unsung genius Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon). Will is sent to therapist Robin Williams after assaulting a police officer, while studying math under the tutelage of a Harvard professor, played by Stellan Skarsgard. The film examines Will’s relationship with his background, his friendship group, and ultimately himself. Incredibly well received at the exit, Goodwill hunting won two Oscars for Best Original Screenplay (won by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) and Best Supporting Actor (won by Williams). In the years that followed, it continued to be seen as a landmark achievement in modern American storytelling.
Perhaps because of Affleck and Damon’s compelling and understated storyline, Williams’ performance is significantly more subdued than many of his more famous roles. However, in one scene, Williams has carte blanche to unleash his improvisational skills. During one of her character’s therapy sessions with Damon, Williams recounts how his late wife farted in her sleep. Although it’s completely made up, the moment fits so perfectly into the larger narrative and affected the rest of the crew so deeply that the filmmakers decided to leave it.
While the scene seems to blend in perfectly with the rest of the dialogue, it’s actually easy to see that William’s fellow cast and crew weren’t expecting it. Damon himself bursts into an uncontrollable laugh, while the camera itself begins to subtly shake from the team’s giggles. However, while the story itself exemplifies Williams’ talent for comedy, it also helps relay something incredibly deep about the nature of love – in particular, the importance of loving people for. their faults as well as their strengths. In this way, the improvised moment is a perfect foil for the complex psychology and relationship meditations explored in the rest of the script.
Williams was known for his improvisations in several of his films. Famous, his performances in hits such as Good morning Vietnam! and disney classic Aladdin (in which Williams played the iconic genius) were almost entirely spur of the moment. However, this scene in Goodwill hunting might be the best example of why Williams was such a revered artist. It’s one thing to improvise an improvised joke. It’s another to make it fit so seamlessly into the larger, more serious themes of the story.
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