Good Will Hunting Film Analysis

2013 Words 9 Pages
There are societal issues that surround us as a country and are prevalent in today’s world, issues that, as social workers, need to be brought to our awareness, and to the forefront of discussions so that changes can occur. The film selected to address a specific societal issue through the social workers lenses, is the movie, Good Will Hunting, directed by Gus Van Sant and produced by Lawrence Bender. While there are a number of societal issues discussed throughout the film, the specific issue that this paper will focus on are the ascribe class statuses of individuals, and how this class in turn affects individuals potential to excel within the larger societal structure, as seen in the life of Will Hunting.
There is background information
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Focusing specifically on the impact that ones capital and social class has on their ability to be successful in life, as well as to the social constructs of reality as seen in the film, towards others attitudes that surround an individuals perception. The film demonstrates class differences, and how those who are in the upper-middle class, as well as the wealthy, are at a greater advantage for success than those from the working class, like Will Hunting. His opportunities are largely shaped by the environment in which he lives in, and throughout the film, we are able to see how his environment can greatly shape the overall outcome of his life course, and the potential ability for Will to live out this “American Dream”.
Society is fed this lie that if you work hard enough, you will bear the fruit of your labor. This however, is not always the case, but in fact an extremely rare instant of when the cards stack in your favor. There are advantages that individuals have based solely on the family in which they are born into. The chances to live out, and reach this “American Dream”, is a lie in which people tell themselves to justify the endless amount of work they emit. Will has the rare opportunity to strive and reach this American Dream,
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As Pierre Bourdieu states, cultural capital can exist in three forms: embodied state, in the objectified state, and in the institutionalized state (Bourdieu, 169). For Will Hunting, his individualized cultural capital does in fact shape the way in which he has been ascribed in the working class. From birth he has this inherent distribution of cultural capital in being a young man from the South Boston region. Individuals within the lower class, or working class, have these cultural capital disadvantages towards pursuing institutionalized capital because of their economical background might hinder the financial resources that are needed to achieve this higher level of education. While Will lack the cultural capital needed to pursue this higher level of education, he had the access to other resources that allow an accumulation of knowledge to strengthen his “genius” abilities. In the film Will stated how he read all of these philosophical authors

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