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   GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997) 

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CAST
Matt Damon
Robin Williams
Stellan Skarsgard
Minnie Driver
Ben Affleck
Casey Affleck
Cole Hauser
Rachel Majorowski
Colleen McCauley

DIRECTED BY
Gus Van Sant

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 126 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Romance

Won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Williams). Nominated for Best Actor (Damon), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Song, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress.


It truly is wonderful to see a film that tackles real life issues in a fresh and touching way. Nothing the characters talk about or do in GOOD WILL HUNTING, is anything new, but it's fascinating nonetheless because the characters are practically flesh and blood. They are people you know. Good or bad, smart or stupid, these people exist in everyday life. That's what draws you in. The idea is simple enough – Matt Dillon plays Will Hunting, a normal everyday guy from South Boston who just happens to be a math genius. Not only can he solve complex math problems in hours, but he solves them in ways no one else has even dreamed of. Because of his genius, as well as his past (he is an orphan and was abused in several foster homes), he gets into all sorts of trouble with the law and after the latest incident finds himself in jail for good. He comes to the attention of a math professor at MIT (where he's a janitor) by solving a problem in a weekend that took the staff a semester to create.

The professor offers him a solution to his dilemma – work on problems with him and see a therapist every week or stay in jail. Will agrees to the conditions, but that doesn't mean he has to mentally cooperate. He behaves in the math sessions, but plays with the therapists, making fools of six before Jerry calls in a favor from his old roommate, Sean (played by Robin Williams). It is in these sessions that Will finds a true challenger, someone who won't be pushed around or humiliated. Originally a contest of wills, the sessions eventually become a haven, a chance for both Will and Sean to be themselves and to share their pain. These scenes are the most interesting and emotionally rewarding of the film. Williams and Damon are matched in their acting prowess, both emoting great strength and vulnerability.


"Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself."

Though I normally like Minnie Driver, I have to say she just didn't do it for me in this film. She plays Will's girlfriend, Skylar, a Harvard pre-med student. The way they meet, in a Cambridge bar, is quite amusing, but I found her to be a little too quirky. She was just trying too hard to be fun and different. I'm not sure whether that was the way the character was written or whether it was the direction, but I just didn't really care about her or her feelings. She just seemed too aware of everything she was doing and saying, which was very annoying after a while. She was "acting" and boy did it show. Since this was the least interesting dynamic of the film, I just wish they didn't have a "girlfriend" role. The script was written by Damon and his co-star Ben Affleck. I guess if you want an interesting role, you might as well write it for yourself. And they did a terrific job, fleshing out all the roles, not just their own. I think they're probably better actors than writers, but I sure I'm interested to see what they come up with next. Of course, they might just stop while they're ahead and concentrate on their acting careers. This is an enjoyable movie about real life issues. One of the most thoughtful and well made films of the year.



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