There’s something about a great movie speech that lingers long after the credits (and apparently now compulsory post-credits scene) have rolled.
Some reach deep into a soul, some are witty, some are crude beyond measure. But all stand up as a poignant reminder of the power of speech.
A couple of my favourites, in no particular order, include …
* Colonel Nathan R Jessup going berko at Lt Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men because he “can’t handle the truth”.
* William Wallace entreating his followers to remember ”they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom” in Braveheart.
* Sam Gamgee declaring to Frodo Baggins that “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you” in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
However, the one I love most – and wanted to learn in full – comes from the pens of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting.
The scene in question centres on Will (Damon), a genius-level janitor who avoids jail time for assault, in part, by agreeing to see a therapist.
Robin Williams plays the counsellor, Sean, who has little success in reaching the troubled young man – until the below exchange, which occurs after Will snidely analyses a painting he sees in the therapist’s office…
Sean I thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me and I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep and haven’t thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?
Sean You’re just a kid. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
Will Why, thank you.
Sean It’s all right. You’ve never been out of Boston.
Sean If I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that.
If I ask you about women you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favourites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy.
You’re a tough kid. I ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watched him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help.
And if I ask you about love, you’ll probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel and to have that love for her be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms visiting hours don’t apply to you.
You don’t know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you, I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and you ripped my f****** life apart.
You’re an orphan right? (Will nods) Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what? I can’t learn anything from you I can’t read in some f****** book. Unless you wanna talk about you, who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t wanna do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Watch it for yourself below