“Good Will Hunting” is a deep well of acting, story-telling and character drama, and I like that. Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as a launching vehicle for their budding careers, the film follows Will Hunting (Damon), an MIT janitor and general lower class hoodlum as he’s discovered to be a stellar-genius. In order to get him out of jail Gerald Lambeau, a math professor, convinces a judge to release him to the professor on condition of therapy, the therapy leads to a relationship with Sean (Williams), the therpist with close ties to Professor Lambeau.
Why you’ll like this:
Excellent drama; great acting and developed characters
Remarkably, the initial cast that the studio desired was Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, but sometimes you just have to be grateful for what you get and I’m thankful for being introduced to Matt Damon, Cole Hauser and Casey Affleck. What? Oh, right, Ben is there too and does a good job here, but his career has been less than awesome. “Paycheck” anyone? My favorite character in the film has to be Morgan, played by Casey Affleck and he brings home an exceptionally strange role that cracks me up even thinking about some of his dialogue and actions.
Filmed in Boston this movie has an authentic feel and brings a genuine texture to the life of Will as we journey with him and his roughneck friends. This is the very connection that Sean builds on with Will, because he’s also from the rough side of Boston, so where Will was able to ridicule and break down other therapists Sean was able to see through the antics to see the source of all the hurt and reason with him in an area that Will isn’t able to outsmart him: life.
“Good Will Hunting” is a very intelligent film and clearly written with the thought of complex characters in mind. The banter between the friends drives home the level of comraderie they all have while Will is able to set himself apart from unwitting outsiders using his IQ as a weapon, or his fists if all else fails.
Why you won’t like this:
Emotionally heavy content
In terms of pure character-driven plots I’m a huge fan of what “Good Will Hunting” brings to the table, it’s filled with thoughtful portraits of realistic people, but not so heavy handed that you’re in a constant state of fear for what may happen next. An actor’s movie for sure, which makes sense since it was written by two of them, and they did an excellent job.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Starring: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck
Director: Gus Van Sant
Running Time: 2 hr. 6 min.
Release Date: January 9, 1998