Movie Magazine International

Good Will Hunting

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

Matt Damon, Vanity Fair cover boy and star of "The Rainmaker" is cute as a bug's ear even when he scowls, which is how he spends most of his time in a film of his own devising, "Good Will Hunting." It's a feel-good flick, though, for those of you who as children endured the speech about not living up to your potential, there may be flashbacks.

Damon plays Will Hunting, a troubled math genius working as a janitor at M.I.T. But wait, he's also a history wonk and when therapists take him on, he turns the tables and begins to deconstruct them. M.I.T.'s top math professor notices him when Will scribbles the proof to an almost impossible problem on a hallway blackboard. The professor tracks the kid down, and then sets about not only getting him out of jail, but setting Will up with a future worthy of him whether he wants it or not.

The script, authored by Damon and co-star Ben Affleck, rambles too much in its two hours plus. The co-writing credit perhaps explains why Affleck's best-buddy character gets way too much screen time. Character development itself can be shaky. The worst example being that we're never given a handle on the math professor. Since he's the prime mover here, that's a problem. The script also tries to leap some mighty big plot holes without always making it safely across.

But it also offers an analysis of the impact of the military-industrial complex on Joe Q. Public that's brilliant. It's also dead on target dissecting the difference between book learning and wisdom.

And I like Minnie Driver as Will's improbable love interest. A Harvard pre-med student who not only likes Will's style, but is also attracted to his emotional neediness maybe because she's needy, too, under that brash exterior.

I liked Robin Williams as Will's therapist and counterpoint even more. He's a fellow genius, turned underachiever after life deals him some bad blows. His character is sweet and funny with eyes that are infinitely sad. Their relationship, each helping the other embrace the possibilities of life, is the heart and soul of "Good Will Hunting."

Matt, baby, listen to Andrea. You've got a great future ahead of you, but you've got to get a good script doctor.

© 1997 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 10/10/97

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