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Borderline Personality Disorder of The Protagonist in ‘good Will Hunting’ Movie

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The movie ‘Good Will Hunting’ describes a genius young Will, who solved the equations of the MIT mathematics professor Gerald on the blackboard and was discovered by Gerald. However, Will is a very violent and unsatisfied young man. When Gerald found this genius, he was about to send to jail because of the fight. Gerald pleaded with the judge for bail, and then let Will be free from jail. In order to let Will find his own life goals, he asked many psychologists to give counsel to Will. But, Will was very resistant, he humiliated all to psychologists. At the same time, Will in love with a girl named Skylar who is a student at Harvard University. However, due to his inferiority complex, the relationship between them could not be going a step further. As Gerald is not willing to lose a genius, he turns to his college classmate, psychology professor Sean. Under the efforts of Sean and Will’s friend Chuckie, Will finally willing to disclose himself and start a new life.

Will Hunting is a child gifted in mathematics. Yet, he is also an orphan who was physically abused by his foster father. In the movie, Will was arrested by the police officers since he fought with his kindergarten classmate who used to bully him and kicked the police officer. When he went to the court, the judge uncovered the fact that Will had a dark past of stealing a car, pretending a police officer, and transferring to three foster families because of violence. This can be explained by Freud’s Classical Psychoanalytic Theory, which proposes childhood experience is one of the main driving forces for personality development. Since Will was suffered both physical and emotional abuse throughout his childhood, he had bad temper and arrogance when he grew up. Moreover, he was losing faith in relationships and people that avoided getting close and hided his true thought to everyone such as therapists. This makes him hard to build a social life. Apparently, his childhood trauma significantly affects his personality development.

Will Hunting can be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I think he has this disorder because people with borderline personality disorder see the world in black and white, apply their harsh either/or judgments to others and to themselves, have an unstable sense of self that causes them to struggle with consistency, and act impulsively. In the movie, Will Hunting demonstrates all these characteristics and more. People with this disorder can also show a callous disregard for other people and their feelings, a trait which causes many to believe that they lack empathy. In the movie, Will says very harsh words to his psychiatrist, attempting to sabotage the sessions by insulting the man and his wife. Sean, understanding that Will was suffering from a personality disorder and wasn’t just a jerk, persists and refuses to let Will out of therapy knowing that he can help him.

Another key part of the disorder is having an unstable sense of self. Will was abused as a child, causing him to carry an extreme amount of guilt through life and therefore react explosively whenever he felt threatened or judged. The resolution of this aspect of his disorder comes when he hugs it out with the therapist in his office, after he is repeatedly told “it wasn’t your fault” by Sean.

One more observable behavior that led me to diagnose him with Borderline personality disorder is his refusal to form close relationships with others. His noticeable avoidance of discussion about his personal life with his girlfriend is evidence of his antisocial behavior and possible attachment disorder. He shows no empathy when he cruelly tells her “I don’t love you” after she tries to persuade him to follow her to California.

The last aspect of borderline personality disorder is acting impulsively. Whether it be screaming profanities at college professors, anonymously solving advanced math problems, or sabotaging prestigious job offers, Will Hunting often acts impulsively.

In conclusion, in the movie, Will closed himself off from people since he was afraid of failure or disappointment. However, the end of the movie tells us that it is not the correct way to deal with anxiety. Live is full of choices. Nevertheless, people tend to play safe and not taking risks. And so do I. I always scared of getting out from my comfort zone that I would rather miss out on an experience than risk being hurt by it. This is the reason the saying ‘there is nothing to fear but fear itself’, which is also the logic that Will applied to his entire life in Good Will Hunting. This remind me of one motto “We scared because we care”. If we do not want to do something, why are we care about it? University life is full of challenges. Some of the worthiest experiences are the ones that could cause pain and pleasure in equal amounts so that they are memorable and unforgettable.

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Borderline Personality Disorder of The Protagonist In ‘Good Will Hunting’ Movie. (2022, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
“Borderline Personality Disorder of The Protagonist In ‘Good Will Hunting’ Movie.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2022,
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