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Good Will Hunting

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Good Will Hunting

Starring: Matt Damon, Robin Williams
Director: Gus Van Sant
Rated: R
RunTime: 126 Minutes
Release Date: December 1997
Genres: Drama, Romance




Review by David Wilcock
4 stars out of 4

Good Will Hunting, written by friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, is an absolutely stunning debut film. Damon plays Will Hunting, a janitor at Harvard who also happens to be a genius. He can solve problems mathematicians took years to solve in minutes. However, despite is genius and huge potential, his life is mainly getting into fights with rival gangs in the area, along with his friend Chuckie (the superb Affleck) and other friends. One day he is caught by the police, and sentenced to jail. However, math's professor Lambeau (Skarsgard) knows about his potential, and offers to free him if (a)he goes to math lessons and (b)he has therapy. Damon agrees, his therapist turns out to be Sean Maguire (a bearded and superb Williams), and he also falls in love with english student Skylar, played well by Driver.

Although the story is cliched, with everything being resolved perfectly at the end (Williams get over the death of his wife, Damon finally realizes that Driver is his 'soul mate', Affleck is the best friend with heart) the dialogue, acting and direction is so brilliant, the film is just really good fun. Unlike Titanic (1997), which suffered from a poor script, and underwritten characters, Good Will Hunting is smart, witty, and has superbly written characters, and never falls into extreme schmaltz, which inferior movies would probably do. Damon and Affleck have written a superb script, with all the characters 'just right.' The gang speak exactly how you would expect them to speak, because this film is written by teenagers, not by some 40 year old who are trying to be like kids. But even Williams speeches are superbly adult, they don't seem 'childish' at all. So, having proved themselves as great writers, Damon and Affleck are also superb actors as well. Damon is excellent as the wasted genius. He can show unhappiness, anger, laughter and sadness with ease, it never seems fake. Affleck, although with a smaller role, is superb as the best friend, he really does act like how a 20 year old friend would. Robin Williams is also fantastic. This is his best dramatic role to date, far better than his good performances in Dead Poets Society (1988) and Awakenings (1990) And Skarsgard, is great as the arrogant math's professor. Driver delivers a great performance, although her character seems to be the most underwritten. Sadly, she hardly features in the film, her role could have been a bit more meatier. None the less, she is still outstanding.

The director, Gus Van Sant (To Die For, 1995) is also very good. He uses slow motion well, and makes sure the gets the maximum emotion out of any scene. The audience cries and laughs with the characters on screen. He really lets the audience feel with the characters. The music, by Danny Elfman (Beetlejuice, 1988) is also very good, highlighting the emotion even more. In fact, everything about this film is masterful. There is hardly a major flaw in the film aswell. Even it's length doesn't seem too long. And although there is a lot of swearing in the film, it all seems justified, and never out of place. Good Will Hunting is damn near perfection, and considering this is a debut script, that is a huge achievement.

Overall, Good Will Hunting deserves to win every OSCAR it has been nominated for. Far superior to Titanic in terms of script and characters, it will hopefully beat James Cameron epic. Good Will Hunting is a film that can be enjoyed by everyone, as it has it fair share of laughs, sadness, and anger. The film never outstays it's welcome, it never forces it's message onto the audience, it never toys with the audiences emotion (e.g. forcing the audience to cry or laugh.) It will take a very heartless person to not enjoy Good Will Hunting. Far better than any other 'movie with a message' you'll ever see, Good Will Hunting comes highly recommended, thanks to superb acting, writing, directing and even music. Like Boogie Nights (1997), do not miss out on Good Will Hunting.

Copyright 1997 David Wilcock

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