I’m grieving the loss of Robin Williams this morning. As a tribute to a remarkable actor, I wanted to share his brilliant monologue from my favorite movie, Good Will Hunting.
“So 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? I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seeing that.
If I ask you about women, you’ll probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. 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 ah 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 lookin’ to you for help.
If I asked you about love, you’d 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. Feelin’ 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, to have that love for her be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleepin’ sittin’ 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, ’cause 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. You ripped my fuckin’ life apart. You’re an orphan, right? Do you think that 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 fuckin’ 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.”