Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
By Haley Boyden
Good Will Hunting is a tale of a young, bright boy wasting his life away as a janitor at MIT. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) needed direction in his life. He was gifted in mathematics, yet he lived in a world that did not challenge his mind. Will had anger issues, proven by the fights he found himself in. It took being arrested for him to see a psychologist, someone he had needed for quite sometime.
This movie is one that everyone should watch at least twice. Once to watch it, twice to begin to understand its themes. It is entertaining from beginning to end, capturing the audience with dialogue and scenery. “Good Will Hunting” is a recent classic that deserves two hours and six minutes of your time. It is an enlightening, multidimensional tale, but it isn’t just enlightening: it is relatable.
From the streets of South Boston, Massachusetts, Will Hunting bounced around between foster homes, learned not to trust people who were supposed to love him, and relied on friends less intelligent than himself because he valued one thing: loyalty. He found himself with a rap sheet containing multiple assault and battery charges. Hunting had been able to talk himself out of every charge, except his most recent. An advisor, Professor Lambeau, (Stellan Skarsgard) took advantage of this opportunity by asking the judge to release Will into his custody, due to his habit of solving mathematics problems while mopping the hallways.
There were a few conditions Will had to follow: 1.) He had to work with Professor Lambeau at MIT and 2.) He had to see a psychologist once a week. Working with Professor Lambeau was easy for Will. He found the majority of the information to be elementary. The hard part was finding a psychologist who could relate to him. After visiting five psychologists with Will, Lambeau reached out to his old roommate, Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Sean and Will began visiting once a week. During their first couple of visits, they remained silent. Sean waited it out, because he knew Will had to be the one to reach out first. He did, and it paved the way for their relationship, as well as Will’s maturing. Sean was an inspiring person who influenced Will’s decision-making greatly.
In contrast, Will’s three goofy, vulgar friends lightened up the film. They would all have taken a bullet for Will, which was the closest to love he had ever encountered. Will’s best friend, Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck), proved to be an encouraging figure in Hunting’s bright future.
When a love interest was introduced in a bar, it brightened up Will’s life. Skylar (Minnie Driver) was a student at Harvard, soon transferring to Stanford for medical school. Their blooming relationship was a key part of this movie that was evident from beginning to end.
Director Gus Van Sant, famous for directing the movie “Psycho,” chose to balance the dark and light scenes of this movie extremely well. He took the viewer from a dark, sad scene to a brighter, light-hearted scene. Right as you are about to cry, you find yourself laughing. Monochromatic scenes of Boston were scanned over frequently in order to set the scene. While it served that purpose, it also impacts the emotions of the viewer and almost prepares them for what they are about to experience.
Matt Damon, as the star of the movie, was brilliant. His emotions were varied and truly believable across the board. He provoked emotions from depressed to elated, merely by his expression. He carried himself as I imagine a tough guy from Boston may be perceived. He seemed genuine throughout the film. Minnie Driver and Ben Affleck were also especially successful in portraying their individual roles. Their performances were appropriate for the kind of movie this was, and the roles were very well-casted. Not to mention Damon and Affleck received an Oscar for their screenplay.
Good Will Hunting is worth watching, because it makes the viewer think. It sends the message that someone’s background and where they come from does not dictate where they go in life or who they will be. If that were the case, Will would not have become a smart man, let alone successful. It inspires viewers to be their best and pursue what they love. It also shows how even smart people have a hard time finding direction in their lives and might not know who they really are, despite the fact they know advanced calculus.