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A slow burner, a fine achievement
Stephen-1217 March 1999
Sure, this film's plot is fairly predictable. Sure, if you boiled it down to its essential components it wouldn't amount to much. Sure, Will Hunting's genius is profoundly unrealistic.

Yet I'm giving this one 10 out of 10.

I don't know whether Matt and Ben have ever been in therapy, but they certainly understand a lot about the human psyche, how it ducks responsibility, and pushes blame onto others, how it dismisses the real gifts it has and concentrates on running itself down. How many of us suffer from the same problems as Will? Only those who deny their own vulnerability will remain unaffected by this film.

Not only is the script powerful, but the dynamics between the characters - all of them selfish, even Skylar - is vividly and plausibly executed. The film just about manages to avoid easy answers, preferring to acknowledge (indeed, highlight) the complexity and pain of personal growth and self-realisation.

You could read a lot of self-help books, but they won't bring across to you as powerfully as this film what it's like to be scared, what it's like to experience loss, how difficult it is to shake off your old ways of thinking, how important honesty to yourself is. If this is the kind of revelation Matt and Ben are going to come up with, I look forward to their future efforts.

The first time I saw it, I felt moved as the credits rolled. On my way home from the cinema, I felt sombre. When I got home, I finally burst into tears. This film burns slowly, inside you.

As cinema, it's fair to middling. The performances are all first class. The script is a jewel. As wisdom, it's second to none. A fine achievement.
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Incredible, moving movie.
gufando3 March 2006
A lot of things have been said about this fantastic movie, and I only hope to add a few more praises.

The fact that it was written by Ben and Matt was a shock to me, I did not expect any strong writing and a solid script, but boy was I wrong. The movie lasts for 2 hours, and every minute of it I couldn't even focus on anything beside the incredible world of Will Hunting.

Matt plays Will Hunting, who is a brilliant young man who denies his unreal intellect. Will has had a very abusive childhood which hurt him mentally to a point where he can no longer let anyone close to him aside from his best friend who is played by Ben. That is until a professor at one of the top colleges finds Will's talent and helps him out of trouble with the law. Robin Williams later comes in as a therapist to Will, he is the only one who can really stand up to Will's intellect and manages to break the layer of distrust that Will has developed over years of solitude, and the two develop a bond beyond friendship.

Yes there is a girl, but this is not a romantic movie. There is more to life then what we are taught and what we have to show for it.

The writing is witty, brilliant and hilarious at times, both Matt and Robin Williams preform wonderfully from both a comedic and theatrical prospective. Matt's best work since Dogma and Williams best along side Dead Poet's Society.

If your looking for a typical Hollywood movie with a Hollywood ending, then do not bother spending two hours on this movie. This movie is ahead of it's time, and lands an easy 10 out of 10.

This one is a keeper in my movie library.
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This movie has a brilliant script...
rondine21 January 2001
It appears the jury is hung... many people either loved or hated this movie. I can tell you why I loved it. First of all the script. I think it had a real slice of life, and brilliance in it. Sorry, but some people do use 4 letter words to express themselves. And no, it doesn't mean that's because they lack intelligence to use anything else. I can rise to the occasion any time I need w/out profanity. But it is how I think & speak in my day to day life. The language shouldn't even be an issue. If that's all you heard, you weren't listening! The brilliance in it is everywhere. For example, William's character putting Damon's character in place by noting that he sneers at things that he has no real life experience with. I know people like that. Then moments when he (William's character) says gems like, "I'll save you the suspense sport- she isn't perfect & neither are you- the question is whether you are perfect for each other." I'm paraphrasing of course. The question of relationships, and life career decisions- the courage to risk and overcoming whatever your background is, are all a part of real life. This isn't supposed to be about genius or some "white trash" as someone else said (some people might say the kids in this movie aren't trash, just normal hard working, middle class guys) - it's about love, life and courage- courage to ante up & try again, no matter how many times life knocks us around. The acting, direction and script are wonderful. They definitely deserved the Oscar for this. It has soul. It has meaning & I am sad for the people that didn't get it. As the movie "American Beauty" said... LOOK CLOSER.
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The Real Best Picture of 1997
Eight Two18 June 2000
While everyone took sides with L.A. Confidential (for it's Old Hollywood flair and tight-as-a-girdle plot arc) or Titanic (for it's generally inescapable, juggernaut-like aura) as the Best Picture of 1997, it seems that too many people overlook Good Will Hunting for what it was: a timeless little opus that managed to make South Boston look romantic and happened to make Ben Affleck and Matt Damon some of the most deserving superstars in recent memory.

Because before they were anybody, they were just the writers of this tale of a reluctant human being named Will Hunting, a mathematical genius who wore the guise of a hoodlum, and all of the sudden obstacles he had to take on to truly step in to manhood. Among these obstacles were a straight-forward shrink who outright dared Will to bulls*** him (played by Robin Williams, who got his overdue Oscar for it), a brilliant M.I.T. professor who felt it his own personal redemption to put Will's mind to great use somehow (Stellan Skarsgård, who never fails to steal nearly every scene he's in), and a girl who doesn't understand why the boy she loves so much cannot love her.

It was these obstacles that made Will Hunting such a complex character: while he was a genius at the definite (math), he was a bit of a moron at the indefinite (human relationships). His rough-edged exterior was simply a cry for help, and the process of which the obstacles in his life realized that and attempted *to* help him was nothing short of extraordinarily touching.
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Good doesn't describe it!
Alberto-1512 April 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I am totally dumbfounded by some of the reactions to this film. I'm imagining that the people who call this film boring are of the frame of mind, that unless a film has at least three explosions then it's not worth the price of a cinema ticket. Then there are the people calling it unrealistic. Now forgive me but I come from a similar background to the central character Will and I believe myself to be intelligent, but I didn't use my intelligence until very recently. Instead I took to taking drugs and drinking and swearing! Only a few years ago I was working as a cleaner, but now I'm studying programming and media technology at the best technical University in the UK. Now if I can identify with this film's realism (and I live in England) why can't so many others? This film is a veritable jewel. The script is one of the best I've ever seen. The way it mixes thought provoking ideas and witticisms with the kind of colloquial dialogue which we have read in things like ‘The Catcher in the Rye'. Now I agree with the sentiment that some people have put across, ‘get in touch with your inner Robin Williams'. But thankfully the script or Gus Van Sant or whatever prevented it from going over board. Look at the final scene where they're hugging and saying their farewells. Now this could have overlapped into a typical slushy moment, but no the lines `Doesn't this contravene the Doctor, patient relationship?' `Only if you grab my ass' were uttered so as to diffuse it. Then bear in mind that you never actually see the reunion between Skylar and Will! I could go on forever arguing against people's criticisms. But what's the point if certain viewers can't appreciate the subtly evocative direction of Van Sant, the quick fire script and the superb performances by the cast. It's these same viewers who shall, until the end of their days sit and watch the vacuous outpourings of Hollywood mainstream. Let them watch this ‘chewing gum for the mind' and we discerning few will lap up the droplets of quality cinema. I think a quote is in order here directed to all you viewers who deemed this film boring or unrealistic `If ignorance is bliss, there should be more happy people.'
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"I had to go see about a girl"
RedRoadster29 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those films that you cant help walking away from without being touched in some way. All of the central themes to adult life are explored and exposed by a very good cast. Friendship, love, pain, the past holding back who we could be in the present, acceptance (or not) of our place in society.

"Good Will Hunting" is the story of Will Hunting played by Matt Damon. He is a young man who is a mathematical genius but has no formal education and who is so traumatised by his past that he will not allow himself to be the man he could with his talents. Will works as a Janitor, but chose the Massachusetts institute of technology (the finest mathematical institution in America as we are told) as the place to work in order to be close to an outlet for his brilliance. Early on in the story, the resident Maths guru Professor Gerry Lambeau sets a problem for his students to solve which should take the whole semester for the average mind. When this problem is solved and written on the faculty blackboard the very next morning, he sets another that took him personally two years to solve. The following day he is conversing with a colleague when he witnesses Will writing down the perfect solution on the blackboard again. The Professor realises he has a genius hiding in his midst.

When Will is later involved in a fight, he is eventually given the choice between a short prison term or working with the Professor on a daily basis and also attending psychiatric therapy sessions. Will chooses the latter but uses the therapy sessions as a chance to mock the Psychiatrists assigned to him and show off his knowledge. When no one else will work with him, Professor Lambeau turns to his old room mate at college, Sean MacGuire (played by Robin Williams on Oscar winning form.) who manages to reach the boy emotionally and start to repair the damage that has been done to him.

It is widely known that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co wrote the screen play as a reaction to their slow progress in establishing Hollywood careers. It is a testament to their talent as writers that they came up with so many touching scenes and passages of dialogue. In particular, Williams monologue to Damon when sat on the park bench is sublime. Wills relationship with "Skylar" (played by Minnie Driver) is perfectly believable and as the story unfolds the viewer can see the change in Wills character from the cocky kid, pushing everyone away, to the young man who understands who he could be with the right encouragement.

There are very few flaws to be found in this film, largely because the story is so well told and Robin Williams performance is worth the entry price alone. It is a genuinely touching experience which relates to so many people and is easy to empathise with in real life. The characters are richly written and they are all interdependent in the telling of the proceedings. You really care what happens to these people.

I could "nick pick" and draw attention to the psychiatrist scenes in Robert Redfords "Ordinary People" (1980) which bear close resemblance to the ones in "Good Will Hunting" but I think Damon and Affleck just took the bar up another notch with their interpretation of the Doctor / Patient working relationship.

All in all an uplifting and worthwhile movie going experience which will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
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"Whatever blows your hair back" - This movie does it for me!
Gath23 February 1999
This is the best movie I have seen since the Godfather. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck make a great team...not only as actors, but more impressively as co-writers. Add Robin Williams in perhaps his best role ever (too close to Good Morning Vietnam for me to make the call), and you have a wonderfully entertaining movie.

Ben Affleck is convincing as the best friend to a genius, able to effectively play the joker and the friend who would "lay down in traffic for you". Matt Damon's portrayal of that genius realizing that life has something more to offer than batting cages and bars is equally stunning. And Robin Williams certainly leaves nothing to be desired (except maybe a beard trimmer...).

The most amazing thing about this movie is the writing. Even if the acting were not terrific, this movie still would have made my top ten list. I was captivated from beginning to end.

If you've not seen it, Good Will Hunting is without doubt a "renter", and I think after seeing it, it's one you'll want to own to watch again and again.
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Worth Seeing
obrofta29 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is a screenplay, whose script was written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and sold for $ 600,000. (They split the proceeds)I love this movie. I have seen it several times, and I still want more at the end (Isn't that what good movies do to you?) The subplots make for mini-movies of their own, especially the interplay between Robin Williams' character and Stellan Skarsgard's character.

Damon's real life buddy Affleck plays that same buddy role in GWH, and provides the definition for true friendship.

Minnie Driver is compelling, and I just love a couple of scenes when she and Damon are in a novelty store, and another where she is telling a joke in a bar with Damon, Affleck and friends. The love story which develops with Driver is very convincing, and it's "under the surface" portrayal plus input from one of our favorite characters makes for one of the best definitions of intimacy I have ever seen on film.

When I see some of the movies in IDB's top 250, I am sad that this movie isn't in there, but that is my opinion. Torn between GWH and Rounders as Damon's best movie, though I think GWD plays to a wider audience.
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The Genius In Our Midst
bkoganbing3 September 2008
So many personal projects of our best players never come out quite right. The vision they have somehow doesn't translate to the screen, or it's not box office subject matter, or maybe the actors aren't gifted with writing or directing talent. That's certainly not the case with Good Will Hunting which was not only the breakthrough film for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but it will probably remain their most personal endeavor.

Not too much imagination was required though because these guys set this film in their native Boston the city they grew up in, the city they seem to know every nook and cranny of. They didn't even have to lose the New England accents they would have to in most of their other films.

When Matt and Ben wrote Good Will Hunting the fact they were able to interest a top director like Gus Van Sant in the project should have said something before one views a frame of film. Van Sant got an Oscar nominated performance for Matt Damon and a Supporting Actor Oscar for Robin Williams as the psychologist who counsels Damon.

Will Hunting is this average lower middle class kid from South Boston who was in the foster care system and suffered a lot of abuse while growing up. He has some low level jobs, he's constantly getting in trouble with the law for minor scrapes, and he's a functioning genius who for kicks solves a highly complex mathematical equation between buffing floors at MIT.

Which perks the interest of Stellan Skarsgaard highly touted mathematics professor there. He feels and I agree with him that one of the worst sins in the world is wasting the talent the Deity blesses you with, whatever it is. After a succession of therapists who are unable to cope with Damon's genius, Robin Williams gets his turn at bat.

Robin Williams one of the wildest, wackiest, most innovative comics that ever walked the earth, drops all of that to deliver a highly sensitive performance as the psychologist who finally reaches Damon on some level. What Damon does with it is for you to see Good Will Hunting for.

Some of that breakthrough is achieved with the help of Minnie Driver, a British student at Harvard who falls hard for the blue collar Will Hunting. Most of it is achieved though in the film's key scene as Ben Affleck tells him that no matter what your IQ is, if you don't use it and move up and on, you're the stupidest guy here. It's one of Affleck's best scenes in his whole career on film.

I've known a few Will Huntings in my day, blessed with talent I would like to have had and who threw it away for a combination of reasons. One in particular I knew back in the Eighties was a kid who originally grew up in Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountain country to some really uneducated hicks. They discovered he was gay and immediately had him committed. Back in the day, they did all kinds of things to him like electroshock therapy and guess what, it all didn't work. But it left him a twisted and bitter person who gravitated to the new gay rights movement because it was something that finally validated him as a human being.

He also was blessed with an incredible baritone singing voice, he could have sang opera had that been trained instead of his parents trying to change his orientation. But when I last saw him in the middle Eighties no one had or could reach him. He made a living running a cleaning service for apartments. If he couldn't sing militant songs of protest he wasn't interested, even if he could have reached millions more with his issues had he studied, learned, and developed.

Unlike Will Hunting, Jimmy Flowers wasn't reached as far as I know. But Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in writing their Oscar winning original screenplay could have known him. So I'm sure they won't mind if I dedicated this review to Jimmy whether he's alive or no longer with us.

I'm sure there are Jimmy Flowers and Will Huntings that we've all known and hopefully we have the wit to recognize the talent whatever it is and the encouraging nature to make people develop that talent.
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Must See Flick
dickyslcc20 July 2007
The name of the film always put me off watching it. Ever so glad i was convinced in to it.

Only the fact that there is so much bad language and for Titanic being released in the same year this would have swept the boards in the Oscars!

I hate Robin Williams as a comedian, but i was in tears after watching his timeless performance. I love most of the classic movies but this is definitely the best film i have ever seen

Mat Damon played a great part, showing the full spectrum of emotions in his role.

I've ever gone out and bought the soundtrack to the film, i've watched it half a dozen times and always go right through to the final credits.

Pure brilliance!
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Two Pals Make Good in Hollywood
harry-7625 June 2000
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck scored quite a success with their interesting and entertaining script. The introduction and exposition sections are enormously engrossing, after which script peaks and rather coasts along the rest of the way. Yet, the casting is so well done, and the acting at such good level, that interest is nicely maintained.

What "Hunting" essentially consists of is some two dozen conversational scenes, bridged together with short transitions of physical activity. What is rather remarkable is that one isn't aware of the dramatic limitations comprising the structure. This is a real tribute to the cast, director, and of course, the script. While the basic situation is really quite far-fetched, it is made to seem plausible--again, the mark of good, convincing writing. The story behind getting the script sold and produced on the terms of the writers' preferences is fascinating. Still, one can't really call it luck, for both Damon and Affleck "paid their dues" -- and success did not just fall into their laps. These are two talented young men, with perseverance; and how wonderful for them to have achieved such success while still youthful and full of vitality.

"Good Will Hunting" is a good production, with solid craftsmanship in all departments -- thanks to the creativity of Damon and Affleck.
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The myth of "genius"
KFL13 September 1998
Enormous suspension of disbelief is required where Will's "genius" is concerned. Not just in math--he is also very well read in economic history, able to out-shrink several shrinks, etc etc. No, no, no. I don't buy it. While they're at it, they might as well have him wearing a big "S" on his chest, flying faster than a jet plane and stopping bullets.

Among other problems...real genius (shelving for the moment the problem of what it really is, and whether it deserves such mindless homage) doesn't simply appear /ex nihilo/. It isn't ever so multi-faceted. And it is very rarely appreciated by contemporaries.

Better to have made Will a basketball prodigy. Except that Damon's too short.
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Good Will Bluffing - An Adolescent Smugfest
Mikelito7 July 2008
When Hollywood is trying to grasp what an "intelligent person" is like, they fail so miserably, finding it hard putting words in the mouth of the purported "genius".

Right, any genius walks around trying to rub in his superiority at every instance. Sure, they hang out in bars and pick fights – it's not like they are (generalizing wildly) autistic nerds who never have a tan.

Plus, if you are a genius you know all about Math and History and Politics and of course you're constantly up to date with current events and a thorough analysis of them. Coz these things, like, all go together n stuff, y'know?

Plus, you walk around with a smirk all the time. You are just a smug son of a you-know-what, that's how it is, y'all.

And of course you smoke, like someone who never smoked before, but you smoke coz it's like cool n stuff, y'know. And you're different. That is understood.

And of course you can fight – you're a bully. A bully who finds time to study 10.000 books whenever he doesn't lift weights. And whenever he doesn't smoke or drink beer because he follows a strict health regimen.

And you date a 30-something college student – Minnie Driver. Well, I won't even comment Matt Damon. Team America has hit the nail on the head already.

This movie is a daydream of a Beavis & Butthead type student (in other words 95% of them): "Yeah, that's what I would be like if I was a genius." But stupid people and stupid authors in this case cannot imagine the lives of geniuses.
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It`s Not Good
Theo Robertson23 March 2004
What is about mathematical geniuses that get the critics juices flowing ? A BEAUTIFUL MIND wasn`t up to much in my opinion ( FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING deserved the Oscar that year ) while GOOD WILL HUNTING had several awards lavished on it undeservedly

First off is the script . When I attended film school I was told GOOD WILL HUNTING is a very good example on how not to start a script and the tutor was right . This movie lacks any type of opening hook and for the most part it`s very very slow . If you wrote an unsolicited script like this the script reader would have given up on it by page 15

Structure aside the idea of a member of the American underclass being some sort of intellectual god doesn`t really ring true . Ask yourself this : If he`s the cleverst character in the movie how come he`s gone through his short life without anyone noticing his abilities ? Not one single teacher from his childhood noticed his gift ? Highly unlikely as is the fact he`s read so much mind expanding litrature . And if Will`s so clever how come he`s so oblivous of what happens to young good looking boys in American prisons ?

But it`s the casting that let much of the film down . You want to get a couple of actors to play rough tough Irish gang members ? Let`s get Matt Damon and Ben Affleck which is like getting Russell Crowe to play a pacifist or Charles Bronson to play a liberal do gooder . I failed to be convinced by the foul mouthed Damon and Affleck as they strutted about smacking people in the chops and couldn`t help thinking that even though they wrote the script the parts should have been awarded to different actors , after all Billy Bob Thornton has written screenplays for films he hasn`t been cast in and the same criteria should have been applied here

There are some good points to the movie . Robin Williams is excellent as the man who tries to show Will his potential and also very good is Stellan Skarsgard who is quite simply one of the greatest character actors to stepped foot outside of Europe and despite my previous criticism of the script there is quite a moving piece of dialogue at the park as Williams character explains to Will what he has seen in life

But I`ve got to repeat that there`s less plus points than negatives to this movie and I`ve got to agree with the people who`ve said GOOD WILL HUNTING is boring and unconvincing
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and now, ABC After school special presents.
Ironboundfw18 July 2003
So many fans, so little to show for it. I know, I know, these words are gonna find me in a great minority. A lot of people really liked Good Will Hunting. But seriously please, great film making, not even close, and let's put the blame where it belongs... in the writing.

Now, I know they won an oscar for it, and boy did they look good emoting on the screen. But Good Will Hunting is an ABC after school special with lots of cursing in it, and a slightly bigger budget.

What this movie does show, is the brilliance of Harvey Weinstein and Miramax Pictures. Mr. Weinstein could take manure, feed it to you, and make you believe your eating bon bons. And that's exactly what the studio did with the film. They created such high faluttin buzz around it, that people believed, and wanted to believe it so much --- that they saw brilliance where there was none.

Now, I know some people think it's a great movie, I don't think it's a horribly bad movie, I like to compare it to more in the middle of the road movies, and also to some great Made for TV movies (although, not HBO films, HBO films are unusually better than Good Will Hunting would ever be.) It's just a nice, little film, with some good performances, Robin Williams was not good in it, they just gave him the oscar cause the'd been itching to do it for a while. And of course, the Miramax public relations machine secured Ben and Matt their screenwriting oscar... but come one people... there's better movies out there thatn GWH.
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Cliched, unreal, predictable and manipulative
cd_1357912 March 1999
I'm not surprised that so many people fell for this one. When I was watching this movie, a couple viewers next to me sobbed whenever you're "supposed" to sob -- or at least feel "touched". Like when Hunting said he didn't love the girl. Like when Robin Williams' character (sorry I forgot his role's name) was telling Hunting repeatedly "It's not your fault" (oh Lord, just thinking of that scene gives me the goosebumps). I couldn't have cared less for what would happen to the characters. Many people sob for Hollywood manufactured characters they can't even relate to (think Titanic; Yuck!)... but it really only made me cringe and want to get out of the theatre. I guess I simply refuse to be psychically and emotionally manipulated by all this.

Folks it's not me who's being condescending ... those characters are, and for no good reason because they're unreal. Worse yet, nothing is new or surprising. Even Robin Williams' character is all cliched.

I gave it 1 out of 10. It's probably not that bad; it's just quite mediocre... but so many people went to the other extreme and gave it a 10 so I figured a single balancing vote won't hurt.
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Like maple syrup
argyletrout14 June 2005

I liked how they went to the "Haaavaad baaa" to quote books at each other to impress the ugliest girl there.

Probably the janitor at my school is a genius too but is waiting to land that big construction job.

Just because you keep your nose to the grindstone is no reason to try to cut a steak with it. "Do you like apples?"

the guy nods or something.

"Well, how'd ya like DEM APPLES!" Wow, that IS genius.

Duh, Minnie Driver would give her number to anybody. Robin Williams can't paint and keeps the good books on the top shelf. And there's a professor who always wears a priest scarf for no reason.
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So unrealistic that it hurts
Therut9 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Good Will Hunting is a story about a 20 year old MIT janitor named Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon). The not-so-flashy hobbies of Mr. Hunting include hanging out with his friends, telling jokes, drinking beer and starting fist fights. But you know what? He's also stupefyingly gifted at mathematics. Will seems to know math better than anyone else in the world, including a Field-medal awarded professor with whom he talks in the movie, just because he has heard some MIT lectures and read a couple of books.

Sounds realistic? No it doesn't. What the movie loses in it's realism, it aims to gain in it's emotional power. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote this story of the hardships of a mathematical genius the way they did to make a typical moviegoer identify him/herself with the main character. At it's core, Good Will Hunting is a collection of very finely executed drama: romance, violence, fight against authorities. You name it, GWH has it. The level of acting offered by Damon, Affleck, Skarsgård and Driver is good. Robin Williams is excellent.

The movie contains a reference to Srinivasa Ramanujan, a mathematical prodigy from a poor Indian background, who astonished the world with his unconventional theories in the early 20th century. This real life genius received a big book about advanced trigonometry from his teacher at age 10, came to understand it fully by the age of 13 and dedicated the rest of his life to mathematical research.

If Hunting was portrayed as an eccentric like Ramanujan and if his mathematical abilities were an integral part of the character's way of seeing the world, this movie wouldn't probably have had as much viewers as it ended up having, but it could have had some depth and believability.

Sadly Hunting's mathematical/logical abilities are only portrayed in scenes in which he draws some diagrams on paper or chalkboard. It's understandable that creating a superbly talented mind entirely from scratch is hard for writers who are not mathematical geniuses. You might ask then, why did Damon & Affleck choose to write a story about a mathematical genius in the first place? Had they chosen any other type of talent, they would very probably have been able to create a more convincing character. My guess is that they did that simply because mathematical abilities are often seen as something mystical and mystical abilities draw in crowd to theaters.

I had high hopes for Good Will Hunting. Sadly this movie is embarrassingly childish and sentimental collection of audience luring issues with very little credibility.
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Snark Hunting
tedg25 May 2000
I admire films that shoot high and miss. But it really rankles me when a film pretends to shoot high, avoids doing so because of lack of talent, and lies to us in the process.

There's great drama in the mere existence of an idiot savant. These are people who often are intolerable socially, inadequate in common thinking skills, and generally lead a cursed `elephantman' life, except for their celebration as (in this case) mathematicians. Instead, we're given a watered down likeable homeboy who has been abused. Oh and he has a photographic memory which is a separate pathology (the two never coincide). Depth discarded.

There's truly deep drama in the mathematical problems good Will would be dealing with. But this would require a Nabokov, and his mastery of metaphor. Instead we get the koolaid version for dummies in some (as it turns out) meaningless scribbles and a bubble diagram. Depth is twice discarded. Believe me, this could be played up big; the power of a christ in some of the insights that are speculated -- the voice and eye of God.

There's also common, but good drama in the dedicating of one's life to their gift at great personal sacrifice. We actually have some good films in this regard concerning musicians. Math is better since you don't even get the applause. Here the guy with the insights but lack of language would be codependent martyr with the expert in the formalisms but no vision. But too hard, so pass.

I can attest that there are cinematic depths to be mined at NSA, MIT, even Southie in terms of the absolutely unique and strange feel of the places. How could this film have missed those dark assets and end up so totally without atmosphere?

This movie got made for one reason only: Robin Williams saw a part for himself. Therefore, the previously described ignorances are filled by an amplified backstory so Williams can find himself after losing his wife. Pretty damned offensive given the possibilities. I predict that someone will do this story (or something like it) well sometime before I die. It's just too rich, and we do have some bright minds available. Its just not these two kids.
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Genius doesn't know how to mop a floor
chord97-211 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Awful, nauseating, egotistical, pretentious, amateurish. With God-Like Intelligence and Wisdom, Will Hunting's character is established as he mops the school floor. Without wringing the mop or placing a warning sign for slippery surface, Will carelessly slops water toward several students. If he was so intelligent, it seems to me that he would be able to mop a floor correctly. This is truly a horrible movie on many levels. How does he know everything? We don't see him reading and amassing his encyclopedic knowledge. It appears that Matt Damon spends more time grooming his cute hair-do than perusing mathematics tomes at the library. Ben Affleck was terrible..he is truly a bad actor. Robin Williams was the only bright spot in this black hole of a movie. The award Good Will Hunting should have received was the Golden Turkey Award.
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Can you say "hype"?
Tiger_Mark29 June 2003
I know for sure, that if Matt Damon and Ben Affleck had not been the ones credited with having wrote this film, nobody would have seen this film. Whats more, nobody would have cared. This is Hollywood at its "Indie" best. Trying to pretend that some of their hot properties can be artistic as well. The only problem is that this film is so painfully average and predictable, that few film festivals would have given it the time of day, had it not been for the writers. The story is an old one, just set in a bit of a different setting. Young tough, down on his luck, born poor, no future, gets opportunity and betters himself. Ahhh, what a "feel good" story. Please! I just love the scene in the bar where Will shows up the cocky Harvard kid on his knowledge of American History. Damon reels off one of the most laughable historical arguments in American History. The information is accurate, but the source is ludicrous. There is no way that his character could make such an argument, even if he had read the authors and understood them. He showed knowledge of the Harvard curriculum that even someone in the Liberal Arts Department would not know. It just strained credibility as this whole movie does. It was an average at best movie that was hyped into a masterpiece. I dismiss the Academy, because I know how the Hollywood Insider game is played. I mean, come on, Kim Bassinger and Mira Sorvino have an Academy! LOL! I mean, Beverly Hills Cop won for best screenplay, even though it had been passed around for five years. In reality, this film is ** out of ****. However, did you know that Matt and Ben wrote it? **** out of ****.
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Not all that
SillyPuddy23 October 2003
This is one of the most overrated films I've ever had the displeasure of viewing. I didn't care about any of the characters and the dialogue was incredibly pretentious. It made me ill. Some posters on here have chosen to belittle those who give this a low rating. My reply to you is that I deal with the real world and real people everyday and think this movie is absurd. The world revolves around Damon's character and the ludicrous scene in the bar made me want to puke. "How do you like them apples?" "Let's go eat caramels." What profound dialogue! This guy is just too cool. Give me a break. If I met people like this in real life I would tell them to grow up or label them a phony. This is the Anti-American Indie movie in all its self-importance.
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Not So Good Will Hunting
Serva7 February 2009
Good Will Hunting is a story about a genius who for various reasons has not been able to take advantage of this and, when we are introduced to him in the film, is working as a cleaner at a university. This guy's name is Will Hunting and he is played by Matt Damon. He solves a ridiculously difficult maths problem and is found by a maths teacher at the school played by Stellan Skarsgård. And it goes from there.

I think that if I had watched this movie when it was released, prior to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's careers, I would've been able to enjoy it much more. Since they have both written the script and play leading roles in the film it's hard not to judge it with this in mind. Neither Damon nor Affleck appear to be people who would pick fights, rather they appear to be people who would avoid something like that to a large extent in order to not danger their good looks. They are very much cast against type, but that ties in with the fact that most likely one of the main reasons they wrote this script was to shape roles for themselves to launch their respective careers. I would have no problem with this, if this was a good movie, which unfortunately, it is not. Minnie Driver also is not good looking enough for her part to be believable.

Gus Van Sant is one of my favorite directors, although I find his later more "experimental" movies - like Elephant, Paranoid Park and Psycho - much more rewarding as opposed to his earlier work which is more conventional and main stream. The main problem with this film though lies within the script, so I suppose he did what he could with what he was given in this case. For a movie to be entertaining, gripping and interesting, you need a conflict. I fail to find such a thing in this motion picture, and I did look for it the entire running time.

It is a mystery as to what you are supposed to feel for the main character in this film. It is hard to feel pity for him since he himself is the main obstacle to getting what he wants, success, money, respect and so on. Many people try to help him but he fights them with all he has got. He has the personality of a spoiled brat (funny enough that in the picture this is the very opposite of what he is supposed to be: A poor bastard who has had to fight his way to survive). It is also hard to identify with him since a very small percentage of the viewers of this film are geniuses who has not had to lift a finger to get where they are.

It's easier to understand the problems of this movie if you compare it to a film about a similar subject which actually works. In Rain Man the main character truly is pitiful. His fate is a sad one since he is gifted but his disability has rendered him unable to interact normally with other people. The film is gripping since the viewer feels for the main character and his brother trying so desperately to reach him and find a place for him in this world.

In a word you can sum up this film as plastic or fake: It's a pseudo-intellectual movie of the worst sort, it tries to go deep but only scratches the surface. A positive: Robin Williams does a great job with his role, he always seems to do better when he is given a serious part to play. When I saw Matt Damon in this film all I could think of was his involuntary part in Team America: World Police. "MATT DAMON!". Even though he was played by a doll in that film, his part seemed more real than in Good Will Hunting.
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