Robin Williams & Good Will Hunting & Use of Repetition & I Heart Huckabees

12 Aug

The deep, hilarious and human Robin Williams.  “It’s not your fault.” — The repetition in this scene is unrelenting. It breaks down Will and it breaks me down and it will break you down too.  That is some effective use of repetition.

(from Good Will Hunting)

Sean: My father was an alcoholic. Mean fuckin’ drunk. He’d come home hammered, looking to whale on somebody. So I’d provoke him, so he wouldn’t go after my mother and little brother. Interesting nights were when he wore his rings.

Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the table. Just say, “Choose.”

Sean: Well I gotta go with the belt there.

Will: I used to go with the wrench.

Sean: Why the wrench?

Will: Cause fuck him, that’s why.

Sean: Your foster father?

Will: Yeah.

Will: So, uh, what is it, like, Will has an attachment disorder? Is it all that stuff?
[Sean nods]

Will: Fear of abandonment? Is that why I broke up with Skylar?

Sean: I didn’t know you had.

Will: Yeah, I did.

Sean: You wanna talk about it?

Will: No.

Sean: Hey, Will? I don’t know a lot. You see this? All this shit?
[Holds up the file, and drops it on his desk]

Sean: It’s not your fault.

Will: [Will shrugs] Yeah, I know that.
[Will averts his eyes to the floor]

Sean: Look at me son.
[Will locks eyes with Sean]

Sean: It’s not your fault.

Will: [Will nods] I know.

Sean: No. It’s not your fault.

Will: I know

Sean: No, no, you don’t. It’s not your fault.
[Sean moves closer to Will]

Sean: Hmm?

Will: I know.
[Will stands up, trying to keep distance]

Sean: It’s not your fault.

Will: Alright.

Sean: It’s not your fault.
[Will closes his eyes, he’s fighting for control]

Sean: It’s not your fault.

Will: Don’t fuck with me.
[Will shoves Sean back]

Will: Don’t fuck with me, Sean, not you!

Sean: It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
[Will breaks into sobs. They hug]

Sean: Fuck them, ok?

Use of repetition in the I Heart Huckabees screenplay goes from silly to ludicrous to completely destroying the fabric of Brad’s character. As the scene unravels Brad unravels and you almost do too but it’s too funny– so you can’t. You are saved by your sense of humor and Brad who is humorless drowns in the repetition — “how am I not myself”.  Although we are saved by humor, the scene does challenge us by implying that our own use of repetition is a coping device and avoidance strategy. And the writer himself, David O’Russel, says this while also doing it.

(from I Heart Huckabees)

Vivian Jaffe: Why do you think that you tell the mayo story so much?

Brad Stand: I don’t know. Why?

Bernard Jaffe: It’s propaganda.

Brad Stand: [scoffing] For mayonnaise?

Bernard Jaffe: For you.

Vivian Jaffe: Specifically, you’re so impressive because you know Shania. And you’re so strong because you pulled one on her.

Bernard Jaffe: You’re a funny guy, a good guy.

Vivian Jaffe: Keeping everyone laughing, so that maybe, quote, you don’t get depressed.

Brad Stand: [shouting] Well, what’s so great about depression?

Bernard Jaffe: Nothing. Unless it holds the key to something you compulsively avoid, so it will never be examined or felt. Hence your behavior becomes repetitive like the story.

Vivian Jaffe: Like the story.

Bernard Jaffe: Like the story.

Bernard Jaffe: Shut up. Alright, I don’t have to tell stories.

Vivian Jaffe: What do you think would happen if you didn’t tell the stories? Are you being yourself?

Brad Stand: How am I not myself?

Bernard Jaffe: How am I not myself?

Vivian Jaffe: How am I not myself?

Bernard Jaffe: How… am I not… myself?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: