The film follows the story of a particularly gifted young man Will Hunting (Matt Damon) who is working as a janitor at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He is a fantastic mathematician, with a vast range of knowledge. This is uncovered by Prof. Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) when Will solves what is supposed to be a semester long challenge for his students in only a couple of days. This leads Prof. Lambeau to want to push Will to achieve bigger and greater things, but for personal satisfaction rather than for Will himself.
Good Will Hunting is one of the almost untouchable films that everyone, regardless of whether they have seen the film or not, accepts it’s status. Sometimes this can feel undeserved, but Good Will Hunting stands as a sublime blend of emotions to shine a light on the subjects of responsibility, true happiness, love and life itself.
The film asks audience members to look at what they have and ask am I truly happy? Because you deserve to be. You do what you want to do, not what others want you to do, something the contrasting roles of Stellan Skarsgård and Robin Williams (Sean Maguire) really shows. You deserve to find love, and love is worth taking a chance on. These are the lessons Will is taught, just as we as audience members come to understand as we follow Will’s journey in what is really a fairly normal life (with the exception of his incredible intellect).
The fact the plot is based around your everyday man and his life is another reason the film works so well, because it is so relatable for audience members. Will’s troubled upbringing, difficult love life, the fact he’s stuck in a job he’s too good for and not knowing what he wants to do with his life etc. are all common problems and situations we face in our own lives. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have taken these aspects and along with some fantastic dialogue and brilliant performances they have created a classic. This is why I believe it won the Academy Award for best Screenplay (for the screen) because Affleck and Damon managed to create such a spectacularly human and real script with such deep emotion.
We care so much about the characters and their decisions, particularly Will because he represents us in our very own lives.
As well as the spectacular script, Robin Williams’ performance is particularly fantastic. Whether his recent passing may have influenced my feelings (more than likely) I still feel that his performance was just so brilliantly human. You feel his pain, his anger, his joy whenever he and Will talk about their lives, their struggles and their futures.
All in all, a brilliant script with a very inspiring and very human story about life.