Good Will Hunting – 1997
Directed By Gus Van Sant
Writers: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Staring: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck
When we meet Will Hunting (Matt Damon) he is a gifted mathematician working as a janitor at MIT who is seeing a psychologist (Robin Williams). Will doesn’t realize how gifted he really is and how much potential he really has. He is rather content solving equations on the chalkboards in the classrooms that have been left unsolved when he is supposed to be cleaning the floors. He’s also comfortable doing construction in South Boston with his boyhood friend played by Ben Affleck.
We get insight into his visits with his psychologist, Sean, played by Robin Williams and learn that he was severely abused as a child and he has been in and out of trouble with the law. In fact, the visits with Robin Williams character is court ordered. Throughout the movie is isn’t quite clear who gets more out of the sessions, Will or the psychologist.
Will gets into a relationship with Skylar (Minnie Driver) who is a driven college student and eventually wants to move to California to complete her medical schooling at Stanford.
As part of his therapy, Sean, introduces Will to an MIT alum in hopes of encouraging him to do something greater with his life which ends up backfiring a bit.
Everyone surrounding Will wants him to do something with his life but Will. Even Ben Affleck’s character tells him that he dreams that every day when he shows up to pick him up that he won’t be there. That he will have left with no notice and moved on to bigger and better things.
The movie has many poignant moments, some very funny bits, a few tangents from Matt Damon’s character that resonate long after you finish the movie and really a great deal of “full circle” metaphors that you might not expect.
I loved this movie. I really enjoyed how everyone influences everyone else in one way or another. No matter how hard they fight it they get affected by the central character, Will. Who was the most reluctant to want to influence anyone. There are so many phrases that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon go off on in this movie that are just hysterical or poignant.
I think this movie started their careers and earned them an academy award.
The Directory also directed Psycho in 1998 and Finding Forrester in 2000. I don’t know that Psycho is very similar to this movie but I very much enjoyed Finding Forrester and see similar themes to Good Will Hunting. They are both about a male mentor helping a boy find his way in the world who ends up help the mentor in return!