Culture Street

Film review: Good Will Hunting

On February 25, 2013

By Joseph Rana

There are certain movies that stay with us a long time, leaving a lasting impression, touching a chord somewhere deep down in the heart.

It is perhaps due to the innovativeness of the script and the premise, an extra element of “humanness” in the performance of the actors, and the brilliance of a director, that elevates a simple movie into a grand cinematic experience. Good Will Hunting is one of these gems.

Co-scripted by and starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting is a drama set mostly in Boston, and tells the story of Will Hunting (Damon), a rebellious but gifted genius with a photographic memory. Wasting away his youth and potential, under the barb of clever cunningness, Will Hunting lives his life day-by-day, with no ambitions or dreams.

Depicted to be an orphan, with a sad and violent past of abuse at foster homes, he has a plethora of emotional scars that run way deeper than the physical ones he picks up at random whimsical fights along with his best friend Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck). His genius is however, accidentally spotted by an MIT Mathematics Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who intrigued, wants to give this boy genius from “Southie” a direction and be his mentor.

Ordinarily, Will Hunting is someone who always defies rules and commands, but he hesitantly agrees to co-operate with Professor Lambeau, just to avoid spending time in gaol.

The conditions of his Probation are to solve advanced Mathematics Theorems and to meet with a psychiatrist. This is where Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) steps in, a therapist who not only is a “Southie” himself, but has his own emotional past to deal with.
Good Will Hunting released back in 1997 took home two Academy Awards, one for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ (Ben Affleck, Matt Damon) and the other for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ (Robin Williams).

Ingrained with heartfelt humour, the story deals with how Sean teaches and inspires Will Hunting to not only better understand himself, but also evaluate and strengthen his relationships, both with Chuckie, and his girl-friend Skylar (Minnie Driver).
From the beginning where the rolling cast has Will Hunting’s silhouette reading books in the background, to the classic ending with him driving away on a lonely road to find his love Skylar, Good Will Hunting is what the latest DVD cover of the movie aptly reads: “Wildly Charismatic. Impossibly brilliant. Totally rebellious.”

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