Gus Van Sant’s drama starring Matt Damon as a math genius.
Will Hunting, a twenty-year-old janitor at MIT, has outstanding math skills and a photographic memory but doesn’t want to develop his gift, preferring to fool around with his best friend Chuckie. Everything changes with the appearance in his life of a father figure, Dr. Sean Maguire, who grew up in the same disadvantaged Boston area as Will and helps him to get rid of the psychological defense mechanisms. Good Will Hunting cemented comedian Robin Williams as an outstanding dramatic actor with an Academy Award and catapulted co-writers and lead actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to worldwide fame.
One of the links in the chain of films about brilliant, but problematic (traumatized, unprivileged, or mentally unstable) mathematicians that includes Stand and Deliver (1988), Pi (1998) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), Good Will Hunting radically popularized the genre by becoming a blockbuster and surpassing its budget by more than twenty times. Even though the screenplay was written by the then unknown Damon and Affleck rather than Van Sant himself, the themes it explores—solid emotional connection between male protagonists, class conflict, and the consequences of childhood abuse—were also close to the director. The mood for this beautiful autumnal picture was created by composer Danny Elfman, who collaborated with Van Sant on the black comedy To Die For (1995), the prematurely deceased singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, whose track “Miss Misery” won him an Oscar nomination, and Leos Carax’s permanent cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier.
The film will be screened in English with Russian subtitles.
Good Will Hunting
Dir. Gus Van Sant
USA, 1997. 126 min. 16+