How is it possible that I have never highlighted this film before in the 4+ years I've been running this joint? I checked a couple of different times to make sure because it just didn't seem feasible. Sure enough I was right. I managed to overlook one of my all-time favorite movies for the past several years now. Time to make that right.
"Good Will Hunting" is the movie that is ultimately responsible for making stars out of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Both of them had some movies under the belt before this one, but this flick is the one that would skyrocket both of their careers. I guess it would depend on who you talk to as to if that is a good thing or not. The both of them have had their share of duds since this one (Affleck moreso than Damon), but they have also given us some very good cinema.
What really helped propel them with this film is their invovlement with it. They were more than just the stars of the movie. They both wrote the script. A script that would end up garnering both of them an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Not a bad accomplishment at all when you consider that it was their first screenplay. It gave the movie even more attention as folks wanted to see if it was worthy of such praise. It really was.
At its very core is the Will Hunting (Damon) character who is really the catalyst of the entire film. He's not a lot different from your typical hot-headed 21-year-old male as far as his attitude goes. We all struggle with similar issues at that age. We all have an untapped talent. It's just that his so happened to be the fact that he was a mathematical genius. So even though most of us can't relate with that aspect, we can certainly all relate to the emotional rollercoaster Will deals with in trying to maintain his everyday life.
Then we have Robin Williams character as psychologist Sean Maguire. Even though he plays a head doctor here, I see him as something much more symbolic. I don't know one person that has ever been to a shrink. However, I know tons of people who have had that one elder in their life who helped them get their mind right. That's what Maguire is. He's that sense of calm that we all have without the obligation of being in a relationship to get it.
Just to clarify that previous point, what I mean is we all have that support group that comes from relationships. There is the girlfriend/boyfriend or huband/wife that will always be there for you (Minnie Driver in this movie). There is that best friend who is always down for you no matter what (that's Affleck here). But there is also that one person who doesn't have an attachment of an emotional relationship with you. When we're younger, it comes in the form of that one teacher we all remember with a fondness. At Will's age, it can come in many different forms, but this form happened to be Maguire.
There are many memorable scenes in "Good Will Hunting" that will always stick with me for different reasons. Some because they were emotionally charged. Such as when Will wanted to test Maguire so he made a snide remark about his wife. Or when Will's loyalty for Chuckie (Affleck) is proven by them jumping of some local kids on a playground. But the one that I liked the most was the apples gag. Whenever I even hear the word "apples" that one moment from this flick immediately comes to mind.
When it's all said and done there's no denying that "Good Will Hunting" deserved all the accolades it received. Williams certainly earned that Best Supporting Actor award, but most of all the screenpaly was worthy of its honor. The movie was brilliantly written from beginning to end. It keeps you engaged thru the dynamics of all the characters without ever having to resort to any cliches. Director Gus Van Sant did an excellent job of taking an amazing script and turning it into a masterpiece of a film.