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Wick's Review

Created Dec 24, 2016 12:02PM PST • Edited Dec 24, 2016 01:21PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Good Will Hunting remains worth screening every few years, especially with youngsters new to it. Indeed, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck’s breakthrough stands the test of time, left-wing affectations notwithstanding.

    Superficially about townies who turn the tables on elite geeks, Damon & Affleck’s Oscar-winning story is actually a meditation on attachment disorder, with Damon’s Will Hunting an intellectual pugilist who pushes people away before they can reject him. That’s deep and moving and fascinating all rolled into one.

    Another Oscar famously went to Robin Williams for a most serious role, that of the therapist who figures out Will Hunting. Seven additional Oscar nominations speak to the movie’s depth of quality. One of those was for Minnie Driver, who shares the movie’s first kiss 45 minutes in to what is also a first-rate romance.

    So what if Damon’s Hunting slips in a plug for Howard Zinn’s risible People’s History of the United States, and later unspools a Left Wing screed to an NSA recruiter. The two decades since Good Will Hunting have proved that the Boston Brothers from Another Mother are nothing if not consistently Lefty. They’re also humongously talented cinematic creatures, ill will towards American history notwithstanding.

  3. Great 4.0

    Matt Damon and Ben Affleck became moviestars playing buddies from South Boston, with Damon’s Will Hunting a particularly moving character. By turns smart, tough, sad and resilient, it’s a masterful performance. Affleck’s performance is less complex, but includes a very funny spoof scene and a tender-tough face-off with Damon. No wonder they became the toast of Hollywood.

    Robin Williams shed his comic skin to play a psychiatrist wounded by the tribulations of his own life. It’s a fierce performance, with moments of great tenderness interspersed, delivered with the great comic’s trademark incisiveness. He won his only Oscar for it.

    • Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd easily essays the haughty affectations of an MIT don.
    • Minnie Driver sweetly combines brains and winsomeness as Damon’s Harvard girlfriend.
    • Casey Affleck flashed an ability to be as good an actor as his big brother and his big bro’s friend.
    • Scott William Winters jumps offscreen as a smug Harvard man.
    • George Plimpton always came across as George Plimpton.
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Centering their film on an asshole who is really a wounded child in a brilliant man’s body was tremendously effective for Oscar-winning screenwriters Matt Damon & Ben Affleck. It allowed them to toy with the notion of historic genius, exploit our fascination with bad behavior and finish with a happy ending.

    Two notable references from the film:

    • The fictional Will Hunting’s genius is compared to the real genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan, who was recently immortalized in The Man Who Knew Infinity.
    • The closing credits include “In memory of Allan Ginsberg & William Burroughs”, further burnishing Damon, Affleck and Van Sant’s Lefty bona fides.
  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    Gus Van Sant’s IMDb page still lists Good Will Hunting as one of his four Known Fors.

  10. Play Really Great 4.5
  11. Music Really Great 4.5
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2
  15. Sex Titillating 1.8
  16. Violence Fierce 1.8
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.9
  18. Glib 1.7

    Could a world-historic genius arise from harsh circumstances in South Boston, only to take the hallowed halls of MIT by storm? Sure, but it would be an extremely surreal circumstance if it happened.

    Movie phoniness aside, a math consultant apparently helped the filmmakers create the adjacency matrix that figures prominently in the movie.

    More importantly, Good Will Hunting is probably the first cinematic meditation on attachment disorder, and one that stands the test of time. Bravo!

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Jul 23, 2011 1:08AM

Regarding MJ5K’s Review
“Robin F*cking Williams steals the whole show, establishing himself as one of the masters of drama” in addition to comedy. Good call.