tek's rating:

Good Will Hunting (R)
IMDb; Miramax; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

This came out in 1997, but I didn't see it until 2017. You know, there are tons of movies I don't see until long after they were released, but this is one of the ones I always felt most... remiss... in taking so long to see. Anyway, there are a fair number of really funny things in the film that kind of made me think maybe I should put the review in the "serio-comedy" section. And a little bit that made me think maybe it should go in the "mental health" section. But ultimately, I think the film is predominantly drama.

So... there's this 20-year-old guy from South Boston named Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who works as a janitor at MIT. One day, he solves a math problem that a professor named Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) had posted outside his classroom for his students to try to solve. We soon learn that Will is a genius, not just in math, but... probably more fields than the movie even demonstrates, I would guess. He comes from a very humble background, but he's read a lot of books. And he spends his free time hanging out with a few friends, the most important of whom is a construction worker named Chuckie (Ben Affleck). (The movie was written by Damon and Affleck.) One night, Will meets a Harvard student named Skylar (Minnie Driver) at a bar, and begins a relationship with her. Meanwhile, Lambeau learns that Will was the one who solved his math problem, and tries to find him. And he finds him in jail, after a brawl that had ended with Will hitting a cop. Lambeau gets him released, with the conditions of working on math with him, and going into counseling. After Will manages to get some therapists to refuse to continue working with him, Lambeau seeks help of his old friend Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Despite a rocky start, Sean soon manages to form a bond with Will. (I wanna say it seems like psychology is one of the fields Will knows about from books, and is probably smarter at than some professionals. But Sean is obviously better at it than Will, from personal experience.)

And... I guess I don't want to reveal any more of the plot. Except to say that there are arguments between Lambeau and Sean, both of whom want what's best for Will, though they may disagree about what that actually is. And that stems from older issues between themselves. And Will himself doesn't really know what he wants out of life. And of course, Sean ends up learning from him almost as much as Will learns from Sean. And there's an important dynamic between Will and Chuckie, and between Will and Skylar. And... I wanna say that the movie kind of put me in mind of some of Robin Williams's other movies, like "Dead Poets Society," and (based on one line of dialogue) What Dreams May Come. Also I want to mention that this film, I think, was probably the start of Hollywood's (and the viewing public's) idea of Damon and Affleck as an artistic team, or whatever. (And one of the most famous bromances in Hollywood history.) Anyway, it's the kind of movie that I think is pretty great, but that I can't imagine I'd want to watch again anytime soon (because, damn, so much drama). It's just... you know... this odd sort of cross between a highbrow art film and a lowbrow... no. No, there's nothing really "lowbrow" about it, but... there's definitely a clash of different cultures. And it's kind of amazing how well the intersection between those cultures works, here. But... yeah, I'mma shut up now, because I really don't know what else to say.

drama index