126 Min | Drama | December 1997
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck
Good Will Hunting Review: Good Will Hunting celebrates the unsung hero but beyond that, it challenges us to cast aside stereotypes and see the good in everyone. In that sense it is somewhat counter-cultural but it also follows the Frank Capra tradition of exalting the forgotten people in our own midst. The main plot of Good Will Hunting is about a young man named Will Hunting who works as a janitor at MIT but under this blue collar facade, there exists a genius. Will suffers from a background of being shuffled from one foster home to another and this leads to behavior that regularly lands him in trouble. He is discovered by a professor, Gerald Lambeau, played by Skarsgard, who himself has been honored for outstanding academic achievement. Lambeau seeks out his long-time rival, Sean Maguire to be the youth’s therapist – a court-mandated requirement to get Will out of a possible prison sentence and to get him on track to achieve the tremendous success Lambeau feels he is capable of.
In Good Will Hunting, the rivalry between the two professors takes on tremendous significance for Will’s future. Lambeau sees potential waiting to be unleashed and Maguire sees the wounded human soul, who needs to be rescued before he releases him into the world. Will finds love in a young university woman named Skylar, played by Minnie Driver, who clearly sees the broken man with a big heart, who is a latent genius. Skylar is a natural with Will and his friends, despite the fact that they exist in different worlds. When Skylar decides to pursue her dreams in California, she asks Will to go with her. She loves him deeply but because of a deep-seated fear he might be hurt or betrayed, Will cannot bear to leave the world he knows with the friends he trusts. His friends are Chuck Sullivan, played by Ben Affleck, Morgan O’Mally, his real-life brother Casey Affleck and Billy McBride, played by Cole Hauser.
Will’s fate is more or less decided at a critical moment in Good Will Hunting with his therapist and is reinforced by his girlfriend Skylar and his friend Chuckie – both believe in him and care deeply for him. This movie is the result of collaboration between Damon and Affleck. They wrote and produced the movie, drawing on their Boston roots to show the hardscrabble existence of the blue-collar Irish in South Boston (Southie) with poverty and street fighting. Good Will Hunting is directed by Gus Van Sant, who directed the movie Elephant. The foul language is somewhat jarring but serves to make the movie an accurate portrayal. Good Will Hunting shows the gap between the blue-collar workers and the university people in the same city but in that setting two strong-willed men try to help a young man from the wrong side of town.