In Film there are from time to time in Film about genius and their flaws, some have unfortunate histories or high functioning mental disorders that plague their character in their life altering way. Good Will Hunting, the main character Will Hunting played by Matt Damon, a mathematical savant is plagued by his past as orphan and alcohol abused teenager, and under the surface trying to find peace with his life. The movie is setting in the mid-nineties in parts of Boston Massachusetts and M.I.T campus. The cinema photographer, Jean-Yves Escoffier, used a visual element that emphasizes Will’s character development through the use of space.
Deep space in the beginning of the film is used to establish the two of the three main characters, Will and Professor Gerald Lambeau. For example, the shot of the Professor is seen in his classroom lecturing is two point perspective, with a classroom full of students. Another example is a shot of Will alone in the school’s hallway is a one point perspective of Will, as he completes the math problem on the board. The audience is given informal introduction to the characters, and that both do not know each other. Other examples of deep space can be observed is when Cinematographer wants to express isolation and psychological points of reflection, symbolic to Will’s character. An example, when there is a one-point perspective of railroad tracks and two-point perspective of buildings.
Flat space in turn with deep space shots are used when Will and his friends have moments to reflect on their character and future in the film. There are randomly flat space shots of exterior infrastructure used, such as buildings, fences, and bridges when the director makes a mood transition and pivot to another part of film, a way of signaling to the audience that Will’s character is in a state of flux and he is unaware of it, but the audience knows. Medium shots are used with size constancy when Will interacts with friends to show that Will as character is equal and that his personality is malformed. The deep space shots of Will are random empathize a part of will’s personality that he is alone and isolates his talents for no one else to see.
When Will Hunting starts to interact with Sean Maguire, the therapist, there close up shots to show the intimacy of their conversations they have about each other. Will’s character is extremely defensive, and ambiguous space and camera panning is used to move the audience around with Will, making the first interaction with Sean an uncomfortable one. The end of scene focuses on the therapists painting with flat space, another example that both character are a like in their own way, signaling that the characters are going to have philosophical and psychological conflict that Sean’s character eventually starts helping Will sort out inside himself. The second interaction that Will has with Sean is when Sean calls Will out on his behavior and barrios that Will has built up over the years as orphan. A wide master shot of the both characters sitting on a bench in front of pond. This is to establish that this is peaceful setting for the therapist and audience is with him instead of Will this time. A medium shot of the therapist face is used first to show that even though Will rambling on with insults about him, the therapists is going to get the upper hand on Will behavior and Will is not prepared for it. A close up of Sean with open space in the background out of focus, emphasize to the audience that this important to both characters, and that Will has not developed in his maturity and experience other harshness of life. A slow relative camera move starts to movement out from Sean to include Will. As the audience can see and feel through Robin William’s cathartic performance with aerial diffusion in the background, this allows Will to start opening himself up to be vulnerable and feel.
There are scenes with variation of limited and ambiguous space with Will that as the audience starts see Will start to grow in his love interest Skylar. For example in her room and restaurants with friends, and with limited space in the scene with his therapist Sean. When Will goes to a job interview at the National Security Agency, Will is seen with two officials discussing math while is confronting the reality of his situation, then jump cut into Sean’s office where Will lays his exactly his feelings in his positon in life. Confronted with the reality and starting to feel alive for the first time in a long time. The conversation with Will and Chuckie in an open space of a construction site all around is metaphoric and symbolic to Will’s problem of balancing his talents and honor of hard work he so defends in the entire film, subconsciously. This pivots his character growth slightly for him to start focus on what matters to him, love.
Consequently, when Will is confronted by Sean about his past in his office of limited space, this forces Will to confront his emotional scares head on, and by the end have Will in a peaceful place with him alone the train with one point and two point perspectives of buildings, tunnels, streets and train track show the audience is with him in good place, signaling that will is in a good place in his head, and one more change is underway in him as a character. The element of space has a significant role of metaphoric and symbolic to Will’s story, expressing in subtle ways pivotal and dynamic points the audience would underestimate.