D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Good Will Hunting, 1997.
Directed by Gus Van Sant.
Starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck and Stellan Skarsgård.
Good Will Hunting is the story of 20-year-old South Boston reprobate and trouble maker Will (Damon), who despite being a genius is more interested in drinking and fighting with his working class buddies. Will was raised poorly in foster care and works as a janitor at MIT, until one day he solves a very difficult mathematical equation posted on a blackboard in the hallway. Professor Lambeau (Skarsgard) searches for the mystery mathematician and when none of his students come forward he places another equation on the board. This time he catches Will in the act, but Will runs.
After some investigation, Lambeau finds the genius Will in court and being threatened with prison after a string of offences. The professor offers to take Will under his guidance and teach him as well as getting him to see a therapist, Sean (Williams). Despite resisting at first and being heavily guarded in his approach towards other people the therapy sessions begin to take effect on Will. He and the widowed Sean build a relationship that sees both of them finding the advice they needed in order to continue on with their separate, but difficult lives.
Good Will Hunting is a beautiful story of a young man struggling with his past, his emotions and his future, who is given the support and advice needed from someone also suffering in their own life. The film was nominated for 9 Oscars and won 2. Williams’ performance as the heart broken and grieving therapist is brilliantly understated at times and explosive at others, and he quite rightly was awarded with a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his efforts.
However, the reason why Good Will Hunting is a film you must see before you die is that its other Oscar win came for Best Original Screenplay for its writers – none other than Mat Damon and Ben Affleck. The pair of Boston actors were apparently developing a short film script that they cold film themselves in order to showcase their talents as actors. The script was originally a thriller and after taking advice from several producers and writers it became centered around Will’s relationship with his therapist.