In a session with Sean where he reveals

            In
addition, the analysis of Will Hunting emphasizes a few areas that pose as
problems which hold Will back. First off, Will has abandonment issues which
stem from his parents leaving him as a child and taking abuse from his foster
father which is why he is very suspicious of people who enter his life (besides
his 3 close friends) and why he cannot maintain intimate relationships. Secondly,
he is scared to take steps to meet his potential, he is scared of this change
because he is so used to the life he leads, that leaving his home town and
friends would be too much for him. Will faces two major existentialist themes,
the fear of isolation and the need for liberty. He fears being abandoned again
and wants to author his own life but doing that would mean isolating himself
from everything and everyone he knows. The way he gets over this is in a
session with Sean where he reveals Will’s case file. Sean then says that “It’s
not your fault” to Will. At first, Will laughs a little and acknowledges this
but as Sean repeats this phrase, one can see Will beginning to tear up and
tremble and this results in him breaking down, fully realizing that his issues
are not his fault. He realizes that he can be in the real world for who he is
and does not have to carry the weight of anxieties, fears and guilt.

            The entire
movie is based on the relationship of Sean (the therapist) and Will (the
troubled young man) and is a perfect example of the Buberian I-Thou
relationship which pushes both members to leave their comfort zones to live
authentically without any anxieties or forms of guilt and throughout the movie,
both are liberated from past experiences and begin to take the necessary steps
in order to achieve more awareness of their selves amongst other things. Though
Sean follows many unorthodox therapeutic motives, it is clear that the way he
touches Will’s inner being is through existentialism-humanistic treatment. An
I-Thou relationship involves two people in the moment and their entire beings
for who and what they are. One clear example of this is when Sean chokes will
after insulting his wife’s painting. One would think that this is assault and
it is, but there is more to this action than just assault. Sean willingly
exposes himself to show Will that he is being taken seriously by someone. Sean
is immediately touched by Will and involves his whole being, rather than just
seeing him as a young prodigy. He holds nothing back during his encounters with
Will. In other words, he is authentic, revealing and pure so that he may get to
Will’s inner being, the part of him that holds the anxieties and guilt from his
troubled past. While Will is being helped by Sean, Sean is also benefiting from
this type of relationship as he himself comes to terms with his wife’s death
from counter advice from Will, now this would seem like a patient-patient
relationship rather than a therapist-patient relationship which is the essence
of an I-Thou relationship.

            The
movie Good Will Hunting is about a
troubled young man who unlocks his true self through eight therapy sessions
with an older man who in fact shares some trouble as well. The lens of
existentialism can be applied to the relationship of Sean and Will, and an
analysis of Will Hunting.

For those who do not know what existentialism is,
existentialism is more than just a lens. As Charlsworth once said, it is “more
an intellectual mood or atmosphere than a coherent creed or body of doctrine;
more an outlook or “mind-set” than a philosophical
“partyline”; more a method or approach than a school of thought”. The
purpose of applying this lens is to analyze one’s authentic or inauthentic
life, their freedom of choice and other factors while using themes such as the
inevitability of death, the need for liberty and meaning, and the fear of
isolation.