Study Guide

Good Will Hunting Setting

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Boston in the 1990s

Beautiful Beantown is the belle of the ball in Good Will Hunting: This is one of the iconic Boston movies. The only way that this movie—which features the Sox, Southie, Harvard, and MIT—could get more Bostonian is if it starred Paul Revere eating a Dunkin' Donut.

Screenwriters Matt Damon and Ben Affleck decided to set this movie in their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. And you can tell early on that they have a strong connection to this place. For example, they waste no time in having characters mention the fact that Will Hunting is from the traditional working-class neighborhood of Southie. This happens to be the same neighborhood Sean Maguire is from, as he says to Professor Lambeau,

MAGUIRE: Boy genius from Southie... How many shrinks you go to before me?

One of the reasons Maguire is able to get Will's trust is because they're from the same neighborhood, and trust is pretty much the only thing that keeps their relationship going at times.

As much as Southie brings Will and Maguire together, it threatens to push Will and his girlfriend Skylar apart. In fact, Will tries really hard to avoid bringing Skylar to meet his friends in Southie, and he lies to her when he says that his brothers "all live in Southie. I—I'm livin' with three of them right now."

Of course, Will is an orphan and doesn't have any brothers. But one of the reasons he says this is because he believes he'll never have to bring Skylar back to his home. In the end, he knows he's from "a certain kind of neighborhood" and that it's not the kind of neighborhood that Skylar's future husband will come from.

Or at least he thinks he knows that.

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