Saturday, July 30, 2011

RAD Will Hunting

Like everyone else, I watched the movie Good Will Hunting back in the day. Great movie.

I maybe watched it once more on TV a couple years later. Still enjoyed it.

So when I saw it on sale for 5 bucks at WalMart not long ago, I picked it up, stuck it on the shelf when I got home and forgot about it.

But a few nights ago, for some reason, I remembered I had it and felt the urge to watch it.
More to the point I didn't feel like getting off the couch and I was able to sweet-talk one of my spawn into fetching the movie and starting it for me.

So I watched it for the first time in years.
I watched it for the first time since experiencing the joys of parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

And as it turns out? That's what the movie is about.

Will (Matt Damon's character) is a young adult who was a product of the foster care system. As a child he moved through many placements, and was repeatedly, violently abused.

Sean (Robin William's character) was the therapist court-ordered to cousel Will. He had a keen understanding of issues such as PTSD and RAD. Although those diagnoses were never mentioned, it was clear to me during this watching (though I had been oblivious to these issues in the past) that this was exactly what was at play.

Though I began the movie watching from a reclined position with half-closed lids, all full of equal parts cozy and lazy, I ended it sitting fully upright, eyes wide, emotions in overdrive.

OH MY GOD he's been hurt by every adult who was ever supposed to have his back!
OH MY GOD he's severing relationships at their first sign of turning into something meaningful!
OH MY GOD he's a scared little boy lashing out at the world!
OH MY GOD he's self destructing!
OH MY GOD he's frightened he's hurt he's angry he's been betrayed he's been let down he's trying to stay in control the only way he knows how he's shutting out thoughts of his past he's not allowing himself to feel loved!

In true Hollywood fashion, he was "fixed" by his therapist in the end and set off to win back his girl, with strongly hinted promises of a Happily Ever After ending.

In real life, of course, such endings really are rather fairy tale, with very few lightbulb epiphanies that set a person right with the world instantaneouly. More accurately, such a person plods along through life healing slowly, and usually only then with the help of a good therapist and loving supportive family in his corner.

While I would love for there to be such a "just add water" fix, I'll remain content with the 'slowly healing' approach, and be glad for it.

And I know of a good movie I'm planning on watching with my boy the moment he returns home.....

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