[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00525QKI4][/pullquote] Having not seen this film in years I recently purchased a copy and decided to become re-acquainted with Mr. Damon, pre-Bourne and Mr. Affleck, pre- J-Lo. Fresh faced and eager to please, Good Will Hunting showcases both Damon and Affleck’s acting abilities as well as their debut in writing. As soon as the film flicked to 90’s Boston it was amazingly apparent how far film quality has evolved in fourteen years. Do NOT let this cast disillusion on the experience, the film is good, very good.
Good Will Hunting follows young men in the Irish community of Boston, more importantly Will Hunting’s life. The agenda “ work, hang out with friends, party in the evening, solve ridiculous math equations in spare time. Damon plays the likeable Will, a cleaner at the prestigious MIT. Whilst cleaning corridors he comes across complex and impossible math equations posted outside the room. He gradually takes it on himself to solve these problems, leaving students and Prof. Gerald Lambeau (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd) stunned. As all things in life, when trying to be secretive the off chance of being caught is high. The Professor discovers the mysterious puzzle solver is in fact an average teenager with a more than average intelligence.
Soon SkarsgÃ¥rd’s character learns Damon can use his brain in ways that most cannot, re-calling information as though he had only just read it. A photographic memory is a wonder many wish they could possess however Will feels differently. Being uncommonly intelligent is a burden, with friends and mentors now expecting him to use his remarkable skills to further himself, to do what they can not, the pressure mounts. As well as being remarkable bright, Will remains haunted by childhood abuse from foster parents after being orphaned. In steps his psychologist Sean (Robin Williams), the treatment being a condition of parole.
Williams and Damon’s chemistry takes on the father/son formula, and works well in Good Will Hunting. Not only do they antagonise each other, but they bond over male favourites, women and sports. Williams who is a lonely widow, who works in a lesser role than his rival and long time friend SkarsgÃ¥rd, responds to Damon’s lack of stability in life. Having always relied on friends Damon finds himself growing out of his home in South End, Boston and his life there.
Throughout Good Will Hunting, Damon’s acting excels, with Affleck taking the back seat in this production. One particular scene in which he embarrasses a student in a bar whilst simultaneously impressing his love interest (Minnie Driver) leaves the audience in awe. Not only is Damon believable in his role as a genius but his unassuming presence makes the film shine.