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As long as you realize there are LOTS of errors in the movie, it is entertaining
MartinHafer5 June 2005
This movie got lots of kudos when it came out and most of them were deserved. The acting is exceptional and in some ways the writing is fine as well. However, given my background as an individual therapist, the movie is a mess psychologically speaking. First, although I generally like Robin Williams in the movie, his physical attack on the main character (though deserved) would result in him losing his license. I have felt like hitting many clients--particularly sociopaths like Will but it just can't occur in real life--particularly since a guy like Will would also be the type to make sure the police and licensing board found out ASAP! Second, given that Will is a sociopath (he has all the signs of an Antisocial Personality), he would not be cured by the end of the flick. Many therapists feel that antisocials cannot be successfully treated while those who DO feel treatment will help would never think about doing short-term therapy with such a vicious powder keg. The movie is pretty good but the sappy Hollywood ending ruins the movie and gives the general public very unrealistic expectations about therapy.
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TheLittleSongbird13 October 2011
I don't think I have been this moved by a movie in a while. Good Will Hunting is an incredible movie and if I had to say what I think is Gus Van Sant's best film, this would be it. It is a slow-burner, but I think this was purposefully done and it added to the film's poignancy and psychological aspect.

Good Will Hunting is a beautifully filmed movie with striking scenery, and it is directed wonderfully by Van Sant. The music is never obtrusive but never too low-key either, while the story is interesting and compelling and the script intelligently written.

The acting is one of the film's best assets, as well as its compellingly real characters. Robin Williams is superb in one of his best "drama" roles, while Ben Affleck has never been better and Matt Damon gives another fine performance to match his performance in The Talented Mr Ripley. Minnie Driver is also quite touching and believable.

All in all, an incredible movie. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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The Genius In Our Midst
bkoganbing3 September 2008
So many personal projects of our best players never come out quite right. The vision they have somehow doesn't translate to the screen, or it's not box office subject matter, or maybe the actors aren't gifted with writing or directing talent. That's certainly not the case with Good Will Hunting which was not only the breakthrough film for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but it will probably remain their most personal endeavor.

Not too much imagination was required though because these guys set this film in their native Boston the city they grew up in, the city they seem to know every nook and cranny of. They didn't even have to lose the New England accents they would have to in most of their other films.

When Matt and Ben wrote Good Will Hunting the fact they were able to interest a top director like Gus Van Sant in the project should have said something before one views a frame of film. Van Sant got an Oscar nominated performance for Matt Damon and a Supporting Actor Oscar for Robin Williams as the psychologist who counsels Damon.

Will Hunting is this average lower middle class kid from South Boston who was in the foster care system and suffered a lot of abuse while growing up. He has some low level jobs, he's constantly getting in trouble with the law for minor scrapes, and he's a functioning genius who for kicks solves a highly complex mathematical equation between buffing floors at MIT.

Which perks the interest of Stellan Skarsgaard highly touted mathematics professor there. He feels and I agree with him that one of the worst sins in the world is wasting the talent the Deity blesses you with, whatever it is. After a succession of therapists who are unable to cope with Damon's genius, Robin Williams gets his turn at bat.

Robin Williams one of the wildest, wackiest, most innovative comics that ever walked the earth, drops all of that to deliver a highly sensitive performance as the psychologist who finally reaches Damon on some level. What Damon does with it is for you to see Good Will Hunting for.

Some of that breakthrough is achieved with the help of Minnie Driver, a British student at Harvard who falls hard for the blue collar Will Hunting. Most of it is achieved though in the film's key scene as Ben Affleck tells him that no matter what your IQ is, if you don't use it and move up and on, you're the stupidest guy here. It's one of Affleck's best scenes in his whole career on film.

I've known a few Will Huntings in my day, blessed with talent I would like to have had and who threw it away for a combination of reasons. One in particular I knew back in the Eighties was a kid who originally grew up in Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountain country to some really uneducated hicks. They discovered he was gay and immediately had him committed. Back in the day, they did all kinds of things to him like electroshock therapy and guess what, it all didn't work. But it left him a twisted and bitter person who gravitated to the new gay rights movement because it was something that finally validated him as a human being.

He also was blessed with an incredible baritone singing voice, he could have sang opera had that been trained instead of his parents trying to change his orientation. But when I last saw him in the middle Eighties no one had or could reach him. He made a living running a cleaning service for apartments. If he couldn't sing militant songs of protest he wasn't interested, even if he could have reached millions more with his issues had he studied, learned, and developed.

Unlike Will Hunting, Jimmy Flowers wasn't reached as far as I know. But Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in writing their Oscar winning original screenplay could have known him. So I'm sure they won't mind if I dedicated this review to Jimmy whether he's alive or no longer with us.

I'm sure there are Jimmy Flowers and Will Huntings that we've all known and hopefully we have the wit to recognize the talent whatever it is and the encouraging nature to make people develop that talent.
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Too sentimental
Leofwine_draca19 September 2021
Interesting topic for a story but I found it bogged down with sentiment veering into sappiness. Robin Williams tries his best here but the story is too long and too slow paced and bored me before long. It also put me off watching another Matt Damon film for five years or so.
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terrific characters
SnoopyStyle31 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) and Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck) are best friends and ruffians from south Boston. MIT Prof. Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) always puts a challenging problem outside his class for his students. Will is on parole, given a janitorial job and solves the problem. Lambeau is surprised that nobody claims the solution and puts another problem up. He catches the janitor doing the solution and helps him in his trial for hitting a cop. Will is a mess. He's an orphan who suffered as a foster child. He meets Skylar (Minnie Driver) but can't quite open up to her until he starts seeing Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Maguire is Lambeau's last resort. They were college roommates and he is suffering from the lost of his wife.

These are great characters. The first meeting between Will and Dr. Maguire is electric. It is a couple of powerful performances. Will gets a twinkle in his eye when he finds Maguire's weak spot. Gus Van Sant does a good job mostly getting the great performances. Will has four relationships in this movie. Each one is fascinating and each one is given great material.
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A Sensitive, Remarkable Look at Genius
Hitchcoc28 December 2016
Matt Damon's Will Hunting couldn't be more complex. He is an utter genius. Unfortunately, he has enough baggage to send him around the world. Will is a brilliant mathematician, smarter than many of the professors at MIT. However, he is depressed and self destructive. He gives up the minute things get hard. He can't relate to others, especially women. After many failures to help him, he hooks up with a man who respects him (but who also fears his insights) played by Robin Williams in one of his finer dramatic roles. He pushes Will and Will pushes back. The interaction between two imperfect, but brilliant, human beings is the core of this movie. Created by Damon and Ben Affleck, this was probably the best movie of the year. Will Hunting is searching for happiness, as are we all, but others have decided what that happiness looks like. He is indeed "hunting" for joy in his life. Excellent performances all around.
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Kirpianuscus23 August 2020
A film growing up in yourself. It is so simple to say about it be great, admirable, profound touching or remarkable. But ,in obvious manner, it is more than a film. The reasons are many and few from them are only emotions. A beautiful script as the impressive job of two young actors, A magnificent Robin Williams and a seductive end. At the first sigh, a film in which you recognize yourself. But it is more, nuanced, precise and inspired portrait of potential, help, life meaning , love and the most profound truth defining yourself and your world.
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One of the defining mentor-student movies
Horst_In_Translation12 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Good Will Hunting" is an American English-language film from 1997, so this one will have its 20th anniversary next year. It is possibly the most known work by director Gus Van Sant and it brought him his first of (so far) two Academy Award nominations. The second came for "Milk" and I really really adore that one. But back to this one we have here. The script was written by lead actor Matt Damon and supporting actor Ben Affleck and the duo won an Oscar for it. Damon was also nominated for Lead Actor. Minnie Driver was nominated for Supporting Actress and the late Robin Williams won his Oscar for supporting as well. Other than that, the film scored nominations in the music categories as well as Best Picture of course. It was possibly the movie that catapulted young Matt Damon into the elite of Hollywood actors where he has stayed to this day, almost two decades later. He plays a young man with incredible talent in all kinds of intellectual areas, but his character gets in the way of fulfilling his potential and becoming who he can become. This would be an accurately short description of the plot here.

The other players in this film are his friends, his mentors and his girlfriend basically. And the actors received a great deal of awards recognition for what they did here. However, I personally am fairly disappointed about how much Stellan Skarsgård was basically ignored by awards bodies as he was truly as good as the rest of them who got recognized. All in all, this movie that runs over 2 hours and managed some great success despite the Titanic domination that year is a success. It has a heartfelt moment here and there and it is competently crafted. Robin Williams and Stellan Skarsgård shine next to Matt Damon and I was honestly not that impressed by Driver for whom it's probably her career-defining performance. Yes, it is very much by the book and also predictable with the events, but this does not take anything away from its appeal. Damon certainly gives one of the best performances of his career. It's minor quotes that make a great effect here, like the one by Williams' character about why our hero chose to be a janitor at specifically this place or Affleck's character's quote near the end about how he cares about the protagonist fulfilling his potential which honestly came a bit surprising, but still felt authentic. Damon and Affleck showed later on in their careers how great they are when it comes to writing and Affleck also in other fields, so everybody who sees this duo as nothing but actors could not be more wrong and this film is a perfect example of their skill. They sure deserve to be where they are.

I personally found it a bit sad to watch Williams in here because of how much his character is struggling and the actor was probably struggling at least as much in the final years of his life. It is just pretty difficult to ignore that. At least for me. However, I am still glad he got the recognition he deserved for his turn here. He is definitely one of the better aspects of these two hours. This film scored a huge deal of awards attention as I already said and it is also very highly rated here on IMDb, easily inside the top250. I would not go so far to say it is one of the very best of 1997 I think, but it is certainly among the better films of the year. And it is also not among my personal 250 favorite films, but that's not a problem either. All the struggles I had with this film were mostly subjective I think, for example I did not like Damon's character as much as they wanted me to and as a consequence I did not care for him that much either. And the struggles between the two intellectuals in the film also added very little, even if the two actors were very good. This should not imply that I was dissatisfied in any way with how the film turned out. The good definitely outweighs the bad and I give this one a thumbs-up easily. It's also closer to a ****/***** than to a **/***** and maybe if the second half of the film had been as good as the first, then it may have achieved the former. Overall, it was a rewarding watch. Go see it if you are one of the few who have not yet done so after all these years.
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Entertaining piece of sentimental Hollywood tosh
bob the moo4 January 2002
A rags to riches story where a working class boy is a mathematical genius who prefers a working class existence of bar rooms, fights and ball games to an academic life. However when he is discovered by a professor at a trial for public disorder he is released into his care to have tuition and therapy. Sean Maguire is brought in for the therapy while Will and his friend Chuckie go on with their normal lives.

This is a quite hyped film (the rise of scriptwriters Damon and Affleck was already along the way before this hit - there's is not quite a rags to riches story for them), however there is much to enjoy here. The story never fully explains how Will came to develop his talent or even how he came to know about it - was he born knowing everything about maths? You feel that Will could have been given a little less arrogance - nobody knows everything. However the story is quite interesting and it's given such a fairytale gloss that details are not important.

The script also gives Williams a chance to do yet another tear-jerker role and get an Oscar for his troubles. Affleck and Driver are also good in support but Damon is the lead. His character has layers and he does have plenty of good scenes, but the main problem is that his arrogance is not shown as a negative trait and it tends to make him a little unsympathetic.

Overall a good piece of Hollywood fairy tale gloss that does what it has to do - not a classic but it's a nice bit of sentimental tosh.
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"So what do you really wanna do?"
classicsoncall15 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
For a couple of guys in their Twenties, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck brought a lot of insight into their screenplay treatment for "Good Will Hunting". Especially good is the dialog that occurs between Will (Damon) and therapist Sean (Robin Williams) in their various exchanges that span the confrontational to the healing. You have to wonder where those nuggets of wisdom came from for the characters to deal with each other in such a credible fashion.

I think a lot of viewers, particularly male, can relate to Will's seeming lack of direction; personally, my own period of existential angst occurred right about the same time Will was dealing with his. My only trouble was that I wasn't as brilliant as the character portrayed by Damon, his was a one in a million intellect that could see solutions to mathematical problems that someone like myself would fail to comprehend. Perhaps the overarching problem one faces is unless you have a passion about a certain thing, then how do you know what kind of career to pursue or who the right person is to establish a lifetime commitment with. I'm sure a lot of people never figure it out.

I've seen this movie a couple of times in the past, but my viewing the other day was kind of significant in an odd way concerning guys like Ben Affleck and brother Casey. It has to be embarrassing for Affleck to see himself now in a film where he's such an insensitive jerk when it comes to women. As casualties of the Harvey Weinstein meltdown in Hollywood of recent weeks, film roles like Affleck's Chuckie only confer additional credibility to an off screen questionable persona. It's too bad because I never considered him a Hollywood bad boy, but then again, how would one ever know?
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The Best Thing Kevin Smith Ever Touched
gavin694212 November 2014
Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist (Robin Williams) to find direction in his life.

What do we have here? An early acting job for Casey Affleck, produced by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier (the best thing they have ever touched), with a score from Danny Elfman. That score is something else, because it is not one that Elfman is usually associated with, being much more subtle than his typical work.

Is this Matt Damon's best role? Most likely. Robin Williams' best role? Quite possibly. Ben Affleck's best role? Maybe even that. This film just sort of brought the best out of everyone involved, and is entertaining to boot.
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Well done, but "Finding Forrester" was even better.
lee_eisenberg13 February 2006
I would have given "Good Will Hunting" 10/10, but "Finding Forrester" outdid it (now "GWH" almost seems self-indulgent). The plot of course has the title character (Matt Damon) finding his way in life with the help of Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgard also do quite well in their roles. I'll never forget Williams's comment when he accepted his Oscar ("Thank you Ben and Matt. I still want to see some ID.") Like so many other movies (pretty much every one except the illogical "Gerry"), this certainly shows Gus Van Sant to be a great director. If this movie had any bad sides, it was that it paved the way for Ben Affleck starring in "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor" (not to mention the whole "Ben and Jen" thing; thank God that's over with).
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Good Will Hunting
jboothmillard7 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Written by best friends and stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and winning Oscars and Golden Globes for doing so, this is a pretty good drama, from Oscar nominated director Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, Psycho). Basically Will Hunting (Oscar and Golden Globe nominated (for actor) Damon) is a lowly janitor at a South Boston college, a bit of a rebel with his friends, including Chuckie Sullivan (Affleck) and Morgan O'Mally (Casey Affleck, Ben's brother), and hides a genius talent for memorising facts and solving/proving sophisticated mathematical theorems. It is when Will is facing imprisonment (for attacking a youth and a police officer) that he gets the chance to prove himself for Gerald Lambeau (Pirates of the Caribbean's Stellan Skarsgård). Will can either go to jail, or he can be supervised by Lambeau solving maths theorems, and see a therapist, which he disapproves of and believes he doesn't need, and manages to get rid of eight. Lambeau in desperation calls old college friend, now psychologist Sean Maguire (Oscar winning, and Golden Globe nominated Robin Williams), and after their first meeting, Sean is determined to connect with Will and his hostile, sarcastic defence mechanisms. It is after Sean strikes Will with his story of giving up his ticket to the Red Sox in the 1975 World Series (thus missing Carlton Fisk's famous home run in Game 6), instead to find a girl. This encourages Will to try and have a relationship with Skylar (Oscar nominated Minnie Driver). In the end, after quite a lot of bickering with Sean, Lambeau, and Skylar moving to California, Will sees the error of ways, gives up a job he could have got, and sends Sean a thank you note, saying he's going to "get a girl". Also starring John Mighton as Tom, Rachel Majorowski as Krystyn, Colleen McCauley as Cathy and The Cave's Cole Hauser as Billy. Damon became a star and obviously became Jason Bourne, Affleck is pretty good as Will's best friend, Skarsgård does pretty well as the teacher, and Driver is good as the English girlfriend, and of course, Williams deserved his Oscar for his subtle performance. It was nominated for Best Film Editing, Best Music for Danny Elfman, Best Song for "Miss Misery" and Best Picture, and it was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Robin Williams was number 19 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars. Very good!
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Manipulative and Heartwarming
rmax30482331 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers

I can see why this project was greenlighted. It's got everything a Hallmark feature should have -- plus profanity. A love story between a brilliant lower-class boy and a young girl at Harvard. (In the original "Love Story" it was more or less the other way around.) A tortured boy barely out of his teens who is a miscreant and unable to expose himself to others and who is not "in touch with his feelings." (I've always wondered how you get in touch with your feelings.) Well, it's worked dozens of times before -- "Blood Brothers," "David and Lisa," inter alia.

In this instance he's wary of others because he was abused as a child; cf., any of two or three dozen Lifetime Movies for Women. A very human but somewhat remote academic mentor, and a warm, humanistic, unpretentious bearded shrink, as in "Ordinary People." A score that tells us when we're supposed to laugh and when we're supposed to tear up. Good, evocative location shooting in Boston. Is Will Hunting going to be able to overcome his fear of commitment, leave Beantown, and find himself emotionally and intellectually? (How do you find yourself?)

We viewers want him so badly to choose the right path, which we can discern amidst the murky and myriad possibilities even if he can't, that we feel like we're watching someone trying to shove a boulder and we find ourselves sitting in our seats and humping along with him. Does he make the right choice? Does a bear hibernate in the winter?

Well, I'm sorry. I kind of enjoyed the first half hour or so, when Will Hunting's genius is being finally and painfully uncovered. It was kind of confusing though, in a technical sense. Mathematics is one of those creative talents that appears at an early age, rather like genius in music. It tends to peter out in early adulthood. (If you haven't made it as a professional mathematician by the time you're twenty-five you're considered over the hill in academia.) In other words, mathematical genius has a life course of its own, almost, but not quite, independent of what is generally recognized as "intelligence." But Matt Damon, as Will Hunting, not only has this isolated talent, but something that resembles a photographic memory as well. He's remembered practically everything he's ever read, which is practically everything ever written, from law to organic chem, although we never see him reading a book. If a kid in my working-class neighborhood ever was caught reading Nietzsche, he'd be twitted to death.

Well, eidetic imagery (or photographic memory) really does exist. You can hold up an ordinary comb in front of a kid who "has" it, for a few seconds, then put the comb out of sight and the kid will be able to tell you the number of teeth in the comb, because the image in his mind is so clear that he can count them. But, like musical or mathematical genius, it shows up early, in young kids, then tends to fade. And again, it's independent of ordinary intelligence. For one individual, especially at the age of twenty-one, to have both singular geniuses at the same time, is so unlikely as to constitute an irritation for someone watching the flick. I mean, it's like drawing two straight flushes, one after the other.

And then too, it makes me squirm when I watch a scene in which a shrink brings up the abuse his client suffered in childhood and then tells him over and over (and over), "It's not your fault," until the client breaks into a cascade of fulsome sobs and the two of them hug one another like Esalen grads. Who ever claimed it was the client's fault in the first place? Why in God's name should the client blame himself for the brutality instead of the foster fathers who are the guilty parties here? (Hint: the script calls for it.)

And there are shouted arguments between the academic mentor -- played in a most engaging way by Skarsgard -- and the humanistic shrink -- done devilishly by Robin Williams -- that seem to take place only because they add texture to the picture. Neither the mathematician or the shrink show the slightest evidence of being the shouting type. There's also a shouted argument between Will and his girl friend that isn't called for either, although a simple disagreement would have been plausible.

I guess what I'm saying is that this is a commercial product. It could have come out of a course in screen writing taken through Phoenix University. Introduce interesting characters with idiosyncratic traits, pull the audience in, then tug at the plot and the heartstrings. Have a scene in which an emotionally distant person finally breaks down and cries. In the last half of the movie, when the interest may be dying down, pump it up with fights between people we like.

This isn't meant as cynicism or a blanket condemnation of the talent involved in the production. Matt Damon is particularly good as a bragging roughnecked Southie. Contrast this performance with what he does in "The Talented Mister Ripley." When he and Williams have a quiet confrontation on a park bench, Damon gives the scene entirely to the shrink. Robin Williams does a fine imitation of Oliver Sacks. (Why does he choose so many other poor vehicles?)

Van Sandt handles the direction competently, but see "Drugstore Cowboys" for a more personal Weltanschauung, in some ways just the opposite of the one presented here. It isn't nearly as heartwarming as "Good Will Hunting," thank Bog.
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Quite good, except for a bogus ending
moonspinner5520 October 2002
Barbed script full of "F--- you's" doesn't seem like a likely candidate for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, but this one did win and I think the performances are the reason. The acting here is so strong--particularly by Matt Damon, who co-wrote the thing--that I believe it makes the writing seem better than it is. There are some terrible sequences that can be blamed on the script, direction and editing, such as the bit where Damon's friend Ben Affleck substitutes for him at a job interview. However, the acting usually rescues it, with Oscar-winner Robin Williams pensive and endearing as a psychologist who becomes therapist and mentor to closet-genius Damon. Minnie Driver is also excellent as an unlikely love-interest for Matt, but the finale is almost too hokey to believe. In their efforts to tie this all up with a big satin bow, novice writers Damon and Affleck sink their modest little ship just as it's about to dock. Too bad. **1/2 from ****
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From the South of Boston, where do you go? Out west maybe?
TxMike9 June 2020
This is still a favorite of ours for 20+ years now, our most recent viewing was last night on my DVD copy of the movie. We have probably watched it 5 or 6 times over the years.

This of course won the Oscar for Damon's and Affleck's script, which itself originated from a paper Damon wrote while in college. Quite an unlikely development for two 20-something friends but in watching the movie yet again I am struck with how well several meaningful themes are woven in the script.

The main theme is Damon's character, Will Hunting, who has a brilliant mind but as an orphan was abused in his foster home, resulting in his building a mostly impenetrable shell around himself. Some of the best scenes are with him and his psychologist Sean, played by Robin Williams.

And Ben Affleck, Damon's best friend in real life, is Will's best friend Chuckie who doesn't have a brilliant mind and accepts that he will be a laborer all his life. He would feel insulted if Will ended up wasting his gift.

All this comes to a head when Will meets Skyler who will soon be graduating from college and heading out west for medical school. She and Will fall in love but Will is scared to commit himself to a relationship. In the end he has to decide if he will just stay in Boston.
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Funny and Brilliant- One of the Best Films of 1997
Quinoa198420 February 2000
Good Will Hunting is a great film. It brings, heart, good (and bad) nature, and many other things in this tale of a janitor at MIT who is terrific at math. This man Will Hunting (played remarkably by Matt Damon) has many flaws though, and soon, he meets his match- Sean, a psychologist (Robin Williams gives a well deserved Oscar winning performance here) and little by little, starts to change. The way the film shows us Will , Sean and the supporting characters is spectacular and nothing is funnier than a Boston accent. Great all around.
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A Working Class Hero Is Something to Be
wes-connors31 August 2009
Muscular genius Matt Damon (as Will Hunting) works as a janitor at Boston's M.I.T. (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology); but, he's smarter than the professors teaching there, like Stellan Skarsgard (as Gerald Lambeau). When nobody's looking, Mr. Damon solves complex mathematic problems on Mr. Skarsgard's chalkboard. At night, he goes out carousing with Ben Affleck (as Chuckie Sullivan), a likewise handsome drinking buddy. Mr. Affleck wants best friend Damon to use his head for more than a hat-rack.

Abused as a orphan, Damon likes to take his pals out to beat guys up, as a chaser. Eventually, this socio-emotional behavior lands Damon in jail. Professor Skarsgard, who has discovered Damon's a fellow intellect, sets him up on probation, with psychologist Robin Williams (as Sean Maguire). Mr. Williams asks Damon if he has a "soul mate". Damon is dating pre-med Minnie Driver (as Skylar), but has trouble committing. Can Ms. Driver, Affleck, Skarsgard, and Williams save Damon from a lifetime of janitorial eloquence?

A bit snobbish, but with good reason.

******** Good Will Hunting (12/2/97) Gus Van Sant ~ Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver
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Robin William's is great. The rest of the film is average
studioAT30 October 2016
'Good Will Hunting' is a film of two halves for me. There's loads of fairly uninteresting 'buddy scenes' between Damon and Affleck, and any scene involving Minnie Driver's character is a write off, but in the middle of all of that dross is an amazing performance from the late, great Robin Williams.

His scenes with Matt Damon are so good. In fact if you could go on You Tube and watch only those bits I'd suggest it. Williams remains the warm and funny legend that we've seen in his comedies, but here he is also slightly more guarded and restrained. The poetry of the dialogue and his delivery all match up to make for some lovely moments.

It's just a shame that they appear in an uneven film, that is F-bomb heavy and at times slow.
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Good Will Hunting Is Both Emotionally Rich And Entertaining
sunwarrior1329 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Good Will Hunting is a film directed by Gus Van Sant that stars Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgård.The story of the movie follows a 20-year-old South Boston laborer Will Hunting, a genius who is forced to see a therapist and study advanced mathematics with a renowned professor in order to avoid jail time.The story and screenplay were written by both by Affleck and Damon,who won the Oscar Best Original Screenplay for the film.

The story was set in Boston and Cambridge, about rebellious 20-year-old MIT janitor Will Hunting,who is gifted with a photographic memory that hangs out with his South Boston bar buddies, his best friend Chuckie and his affluent British girlfriend Skylar.After MIT professor Lambeau stumps students with a challenging math formula on a hallway blackboard, Will anonymously leaves the correct solution, prompting Lambeau to track the elusive young genius. As Will's problems with the police escalate, Lambeau offers an out, but with two conditions namely: visits to a therapist and weekly math sessions. Will agrees to the latter but refuses to cooperate with a succession of therapists. Lambeau then contacts his former classmate, therapist Sean McGuire, an instructor at Bunker Hill Community College. Both are equally stubborn, but Will is finally forced to deal with both his past and his future.

This is one of the best films in the 1990's that is both sincere and heartwarming especially when it presents the moving story of brilliant but troubled youth like Will Hunting.Also,the viewer gets to realize that beneath his arrogance and crass behavior, you'll find a lot of hurt and many defense mechanisms raised against a non-compassionate and manipulative society.Overall,it allows us to understand about Will Hunting's humanity rather than his gifts.

The film was acted and directed extremely well.Damon and Williams were superb in their performance as Will Hunting and the psychiatrist respectively.Aside from that,the movie also gives the viewer a positive and inspirational experience especially if we get to understand what is beneath the character's persona.Overall,this is one excellent film that is emotionally rich and entertaining.
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Snark Hunting
tedg25 May 2000
I admire films that shoot high and miss. But it really rankles me when a film pretends to shoot high, avoids doing so because of lack of talent, and lies to us in the process.

There's great drama in the mere existence of an idiot savant. These are people who often are intolerable socially, inadequate in common thinking skills, and generally lead a cursed `elephantman' life, except for their celebration as (in this case) mathematicians. Instead, we're given a watered down likeable homeboy who has been abused. Oh and he has a photographic memory which is a separate pathology (the two never coincide). Depth discarded.

There's truly deep drama in the mathematical problems good Will would be dealing with. But this would require a Nabokov, and his mastery of metaphor. Instead we get the koolaid version for dummies in some (as it turns out) meaningless scribbles and a bubble diagram. Depth is twice discarded. Believe me, this could be played up big; the power of a christ in some of the insights that are speculated -- the voice and eye of God.

There's also common, but good drama in the dedicating of one's life to their gift at great personal sacrifice. We actually have some good films in this regard concerning musicians. Math is better since you don't even get the applause. Here the guy with the insights but lack of language would be codependent martyr with the expert in the formalisms but no vision. But too hard, so pass.

I can attest that there are cinematic depths to be mined at NSA, MIT, even Southie in terms of the absolutely unique and strange feel of the places. How could this film have missed those dark assets and end up so totally without atmosphere?

This movie got made for one reason only: Robin Williams saw a part for himself. Therefore, the previously described ignorances are filled by an amplified backstory so Williams can find himself after losing his wife. Pretty damned offensive given the possibilities. I predict that someone will do this story (or something like it) well sometime before I die. It's just too rich, and we do have some bright minds available. Its just not these two kids.
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It`s Not Good
Theo Robertson23 March 2004
What is about mathematical geniuses that get the critics juices flowing ? A BEAUTIFUL MIND wasn`t up to much in my opinion ( FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING deserved the Oscar that year ) while GOOD WILL HUNTING had several awards lavished on it undeservedly

First off is the script . When I attended film school I was told GOOD WILL HUNTING is a very good example on how not to start a script and the tutor was right . This movie lacks any type of opening hook and for the most part it`s very very slow . If you wrote an unsolicited script like this the script reader would have given up on it by page 15

Structure aside the idea of a member of the American underclass being some sort of intellectual god doesn`t really ring true . Ask yourself this : If he`s the cleverst character in the movie how come he`s gone through his short life without anyone noticing his abilities ? Not one single teacher from his childhood noticed his gift ? Highly unlikely as is the fact he`s read so much mind expanding litrature . And if Will`s so clever how come he`s so oblivous of what happens to young good looking boys in American prisons ?

But it`s the casting that let much of the film down . You want to get a couple of actors to play rough tough Irish gang members ? Let`s get Matt Damon and Ben Affleck which is like getting Russell Crowe to play a pacifist or Charles Bronson to play a liberal do gooder . I failed to be convinced by the foul mouthed Damon and Affleck as they strutted about smacking people in the chops and couldn`t help thinking that even though they wrote the script the parts should have been awarded to different actors , after all Billy Bob Thornton has written screenplays for films he hasn`t been cast in and the same criteria should have been applied here

There are some good points to the movie . Robin Williams is excellent as the man who tries to show Will his potential and also very good is Stellan Skarsgard who is quite simply one of the greatest character actors to stepped foot outside of Europe and despite my previous criticism of the script there is quite a moving piece of dialogue at the park as Williams character explains to Will what he has seen in life

But I`ve got to repeat that there`s less plus points than negatives to this movie and I`ve got to agree with the people who`ve said GOOD WILL HUNTING is boring and unconvincing
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Excellent...except for Matt Damon
preppy-315 June 2002
A janitor at a MIT is secretly a genuis. Problem is he has a very mean, vicious streak, no self-esteem and abuses anyone who tries to help him...until he meets his match.

Well-directed, beautiful cinematography of Boston and Cambridge (some of the aerial photography was beyond belief), great acting by Robin Wlliams (he won an Oscar), Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver, sharp script, intelligent and very moving with just one problem...Matt Damon. Unfortunately, he plays the lead character...Will Hunting.

He's ugly, mean, sarcastic and gives an absolutely horrible performance. He wears the same blank expression all through the movie. Everybody else around him are great and they really carry the show.

Some people have criticized the movie for its frequent profanity, but that's how guys from South Boston talk. Also Affleck and Damon were born and raised in Cambridge so they have authentic Boston accents. It helps the tone of the film immensely.

So, it's a very very good film. It could have been great with a better leading man.

Well worth seeing...except for Damon. Concentrate on everything else.
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A Not So Beautiful Mind Surrounds An Impressive Innate Intellect
LeonLouisRicci14 May 2014
Will Hunting's Mind has been Damaged with that Cringe Inducing Cliché Known as an Orphan who Suffered Severe Physical and Mental Abuse from Foster Parents. This is at the Cracked Center of His Character with an Innate Intelligence that is Off the Scale. It is that Battered Baggage that He Carries that Suffocates a not so Innate Ability to See Himself for what He is. A Genius with a Gift that can Benefit Mankind.

A Professor Discovers Will's Genius and makes it His Duty and Assignment to Bring Him out of the Closet Attempting Psychoanalysis. It can be Frustrating Watching Matt Damon's Character Pooh-Pooh Advances of Concern with Belligerence and Condescension. But Robin Williams as the Last in a Long Line of Uppity Shrinks that Failed is more Earthy and Will Hunting Bonds with the Bearded One and the Demons Inhabiting His Psyche are there to be Exorcised.

The Movie is Charming and Co-Writer and Co-Star Ben Affleck is Here as a Childhood Chum. In this Film Affleck Shows Signs of being a Better Writer than Actor but that is a Discussion for a more Lengthy Exercise. He is Adequate but it is not much of a Stretch since He is Basically Playing Himself. The Professor Part is Intensely Played by Stellan Starsgard and Minnie Driver is the Love Interest.

Gus Van Zant's Direction is Surprisingly Unintrusive and He Delivers a Nice Calm Atmosphere to Surround the Volatile Story that has Many Confrontational Scenes, Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional. Overall, the Movie may be Overrated a bit and not Everything Works to Perfection (this is no Masterpiece), but it is a Highly Engaging, Energetic Exercise that Convinced Critics, the Academy, and the General Public that this was Indeed Something Special. It is.

Note...Casey Affleck is on board with another "need subtitles" embarrassment as not one line of his dialog is decipherable and this may be his most mumbling "performance" ever and almost ruins every scene. Definitely the low-light of the Movie.
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How you like dem apples?
view_and_review28 May 2008
Did Matt Damon & Ben Affleck really write this?? No way!! I am shocked to see such a layered and deep story come from two young actors.

I'm sure there is nothing that I can say about this movie that hasn't already been said, so I'll keep it simple.

The movie was tremendous. I give the two youngsters their kudos. This was a very emotionally charged drama with the main characters, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) & Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), being very complex and embattled.

Both Damon and Williams did an excellent job, for which Williams was rewarded.
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