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Films Set in Boston

In watching three different films where the setting was the city of Boston, I have come up with a common, recurring theme in all of them. The movies Good Will Hunting, The Departed, and Gone Baby Gone all seem to have the theme of fatherhood, or father figures, weaved throughout. You see the main characters either searching for that father figure and / or finding it in someone they work with or are in contact with. In this paper, I will analyze these three movies separately and discuss the issue of the father figure in each of them. At the end, I will tie them all together to reveal the similarities of the underlying theme of fatherhood.

Good Will Hunting “My father died when I was 13 and I inherited this money. You don’t think that every day I wake up and wish I could give it back? ” (Good Will Hunting, 1997). “My father was an alcoholic…used to come home hammered, looking to whale on someone. So I had to provoke him, so he wouldn’t go after my mother and little brother” (Good Will Hunting, 1997). The first quote was from Skylar, who is Will’s girlfriend in the movie, when she was talking to him about how she lost her father and would give anything to have him back.

The second quote is from Will when he was talking to his psychiatrist Sean about his troubled life as a foster child. Both Skylar and Will are longing for love and acceptance that they weren’t able to receive from their fathers. Having her father die leaves her with feelings of emptiness and longing for that love she once had. Will, having never had a loving father figure in his life, is also longing for that love and acceptance, however, he his heavily guarded and mistrusting of any male figures in his life. Throughout the movie, Will slowly starts to accept Sean and almost looks to him as his father figure.

At first, he makes attempts to discredit and belittle Sean as a person and professional, but Sean sticks with Will and this is seen by will as perhaps, the unconditional love that he never received as a child. Gone Baby Gone “I mean, the father’s got him in this crack den…and this little boy just wants someone to tell him that he’s doing a good job” (Gone Baby Gone, 2007). “My only child was murdered. She was twelve. Did you hear about it? What you probably didn’t hear…is what that feels like. What I have to deal with. Knowing that my little girl likely died crying out for me to come and save her.

And I never did” (Gone Baby Gone, 2007). The first quote was from Detective Remy Bressant when he was talking about how he planted evidence in a run down crack house so the father of this child who was living there would go to jail. He sees it as helping the child to get out of the drug riddled, malnourished lifestyle that his father put him in. The second quote was from Captain Jack Doyle when he was talking about his daughter being murdered and how he has to live with that and the feelings of not being able to save her.

He feels like a father that has failed his child and the way he attempts to redeem himself is by going after kidnappers and making them pay for what they do. In Remy’s case, he seems to be acting as a father figure to that child that he “saved” from the crack house. He altered the kid’s life by planting drugs in the house and then arresting his father. Remy sees this as giving the kid another chance. In the case of Captain Doyle, he feels inept as a father as he was not able to save his own child. In pursuing kidnappers in his line of work, he’s able to, somewhat, fill that hole in his life.

However, it’s something that he beats himself up about everyday regardless. The Departed “What, like a son? To you? Is this what this is about? All that murderin’…and no sons? ” (The Departed, 2006). “You know, if your father were alive, and saw you here sitting with me, let’s say he would have a word with me about this. In fact, he’d kill seven guys just to cut my throat, and he could do it” (The Departed, 2006). The first quote is from Colin Sullivan, a state police officer who is an informant for Frank Costello, whom he is talking to.

He just found out that mob boss Costello is actually an informant for the FBI and is disillusioned by a man whom he considered a father figure. Costello never had any real sons and considered Sullivan as a son to him being that he counseled him from an early age to learn to become an informant for him by getting a job with the state police. The second quote is from Costello when he was talking to Billy Costigan about his father. Billy is actually an undercover cop, infiltrating the Irish mob, who becomes a son like figure for Costello as he teaches him how to be a true mob criminal.

In both of these cases, you see a man who has no sons of his own and is trying to, perhaps, fill that hole in his life by taking on Sullivan and Costigan as his “sons”. At the same time, both Costigan, and especially Sullivan, see Costello as a father figure to them. Conclusion In all three of these movies that were set in Boston, we see the theme of fatherhood and how it relates to these different characters. In all cases there is a void, or hole, in these person’s lives that is the result of either, not having a loving father, feelings of not being a loving or adequate father, or not biologically being a father at all.

The idea of constantly looking for a father or a son in others because of a lack of that “unconditional love” they feel they should receive from these figures is a very powerful theme that greatly affects all of these characters and motivates them to act the way they do in all three of these movies. Works Cited Gone Baby Gone. (2007). Miramax Films. Quotes from http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0452623/quotes Good Will Hunting. (1997). Miramax Films. Quotes from http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0119217/quotes The Departed. (2006). Warner Bros. Pictures. Quotes from http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0407887/quotes

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