On the surface, Good Will Hunting is just a story about a really smart kid who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. But everyone knows the surface is bo-ring.
A gift like Will's takes a lot of maturity and emotional balance to use effectively. But Will has had a life filled with abandonment and abuse, and this makes it very difficult for him to show his intelligence for what it really is. That's why he tries to hide his smarts from his close buddies and why he spends his days drinking beer and goofing off.
His development in this movie isn't intellectual, because he's got natural intelligence either way. His real struggle is growing in emotional intelligence.
Questions About Intelligence
Do you think Will should go to work for one of the think tanks that are courting him, or should he do something else with his life? Why?
Do you agree or disagree with Professor Lambeau's belief that Will has been wasting his life and his talents? Why?
What sorts of things is Will smart about and what things is he not smart about? Why?
Chew on This
Good Will Hunting shows us that if you don't use your intelligence to its fullest potential, you're wasting your life.
In Good Will Hunting, we find that emotional balance matters way more than a high IQ.