A decade and a year have passed since the movie Good Will Hunting directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck was released, but it still tops my list of favorite movies. It will not be an exaggeration to say that it is one of the most well written movies and one which should be seen by all the young people because it reaches out to deal with one question we are chased by, “What is the purpose of your life?”
The fact that most of us are skeptical of the movies and books chosen as the winners of the Academy Award and Booker’s prize respectively is easily overruled by Good Will Hunting because it well deserves the nine nominations it received and the two awards it won.
Set in Boston, the movie tells the story of Will Hunting played by Matt Damon – a mathematical genius but vagabond who works as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He solves anonymously the questions set by Field’s Medalist and Math professor Gerald Lambeau ( portrayed by Stellan Skarsgard) as challenge questions for his students. When Lambeau spots Will, who has been arrested for assaulting a childhood enemy with his friends, he strikes a deal that if Will works on his Math skills with him and seeks therapy he would be free from all the charges leveled against him. While Will’s math genius is of the class of Ramanujan, his therapy sessions are futile until Lambeau brings in his roommate from college – Sean Maguire a.k.a. Robin Williams (who won the Oscar Award for his portrayal of the therapist). Sean who is coincidentally from the same location where will was brought up and has also suffered the same child abuse as Will is able to connect to Will and make things clearer for him. At the same time, we see the conflicting emotions of Will with Lambeau and his love interest Skylar (Played by Minnie Driver). It is the end of the movie where we see Will following his heart and going for his love to California setting aside everything.
So here we have a story which may seem nothing out of the ordinary.However, what makes the movie so special are the performances by the actors. The movie with its extraordinary performances reaches out to the audience, making them cry not because it is emotional but because it intense.. There are quite a few beautiful scenes in the movie with equally hard hitting dialogues. Though the movie was rated ‘A’ for its usage of violent and abusive language, it still manages to strike a chord.
One of the reasons why Good Will Hunting was a critical success was because of the performances of Robin Williams and Matt Damon. And indeed, the relation between Sean and Will is beautiful. The way Sean breaks the sarcastic cover of Will Hunting is moving. The scene in which Sean addresses Will about his abuse by his foster father is especially heart rendering. At first, Will is defensive and resentful about Sean’s repeated reassurances of it not being his fault, but he eventually breaks down in tearful acknowledgment. This is one scene that has always brought tears to my eyes no matter how many times I have seen the movie.
Truly speaking, the movie is an intelligent one. I feel it draws references from various literary sources and topics of youth interest. Through Will’s emotional yet intelligent character, it attacks the system of education (which Will thinks is a waste of one thousand dollars when one could spend fifty bucks at a public library). At the same time, it brings out the hoax of various therapists. It also shows the rivalry among the academicians by the character of Lambeau. One of the most beautiful messages of the movie is that of following your heart. Even though we see Lambeau and Sean working towards one goal – to make Will Hunting a success – we see one major difference. We have Lambeau who cannot sleep in the night because he knows that there is someone of Will’s caliber and is wasting it. He keeps on pushing Will to achieve excellence, so much that Will is neither thankful to him nor does he respect him. In fact, Will considers him as a man who works too hard to prove theorems which he can prove in seconds. On the other hand, we have Sean who may not be as successful as Lambeau, but he considers Will as a boy who needs to discover himself and fight his inner demons.
I am sure Good Will Hunting will make an interesting and inspiring summer watch for those who have not seen the movie yet. See the movie for its intelligent screenplay and witty dialogue. The movie has been chosen to be screened as the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Great To Be Nominated” series.
This is a movie worth being seen with friends.