A movie about love, forgiveness, relationships, and pursuit of the “self”. It’s more or less expressed through the eyes and languages of a psychotherapist (starred by Robin Williams).
I happened to switch to HBO and saw this movie, which I sat and finished today. This was actually my second time watching it till the end since 15 years ago in a movie theater. And I caught something this time. This movie is about friendship, loyalty, love itself, and pursuit of love. It’s also about courage, recovery from traumas of life, and, to the very core of it, salvation (or pursuit of the “self”). The tempo is slow and the story line is limited to a couple of people living in the greater Boston area, limited to their relationships that accommodate love, fear, and how they see themselves as lives. The acting of Robin Williams is most genuine (he won best supporting actor of Oscar in 1998). Near the end of the film, when he said to Willy, “it’s not your fault” for the 7th time, the words also broke into my heart and my eyes were filled with tears exactly when Willy burst out crying.
When I first watched it in 1997 I didn’t expect that I would ever see the city Boston myself in just 3 years. Today, in one scene, I recognized the MIT campus where Matt Damon sat on the lawn facing Charles River. I recalled that I actually stood at the exact same spot in the MIT campus facing the same view of Harvard Bridge and the River. I remember dark clouds were all over the August sky and cast their shades on the waving water. That was the widest point of the river that makes it like a lake. I still remember the hot and humid air of that afternoon, so similar to the city I came from that it immediately gave me a touch of nostalgia. In those days the only American weather I was familiar with was the drought and brown of California. So I welcomed the humidity and cloudiness that the East Coast could offer and was impressed with the verdant forests along Massachusetts Turnpike at the end of the film. So green and so vibrant. Again, I also saw that highway myself in 2002 when I went to Elder Wu Yung’s sermon at a church in Springfield, MA. God gave me, and still gives me chances to fulfill dreams of my youth that I’ve almost forgot. We usually learn this when we look back long after having received the gift.
A glimpse of the city of Boston. From left to right: Charles River, the famous sign of Citgo, Commonwealth Avenue, Mass. Turnpike (Interstate 90), and Fenway Park. In the background stand the tallest buildings of the city: Hankcock Building (left) and Prudential Tower (right).
For a brief stay of 9 months, Boson, rather than the Silicon Valley, has become a home away from home and frequently haunted me at a distance of 12,400 kilometers away.
Climax of the movie, when Willy's defense melted away.
Interstate 90 is the highway cutting through the heart of Boston and leads westwards to Springfield, where one can shift to 91 and 84 to NYC and the rest of the nation. Willy must have taken this route driving west to meet his girl at Berkeley, California.
To me, the background is easily recognized to be the promenade by Memorial Drive, a narrow strip of turf between Charles River and MIT campus.
The yellow mark indicates where Matt was standing.