How’d You Like Them Apples?
Beautifully written and methodically paced, Good Will Hunting is an emotionally charged film about a troubled young man with a gift for mathematics. This is a character driven drama first and foremost though, making the most of its script to get the best performances out of its two lead actors, Robin Williams and Matt Damon.
At the heart of the film is Will, a troubled young man working as a janitor at M.I.T. After solving a tough math equation and refusing to advance his career using this gift, a psychologist tries to help him overcome the demons in his life whilst dealing with his own issues. On paper, the actual story is pretty simple and adheres strictly to the “overcoming odds” trope found in films. Where it stands out though is in its depiction of character and contrasting use of ideals to push the narrative forward.
All the characters in the film either mirror or challenge the dominant personality tropes of Will’s persona. His best friend Chuckie is a reminder of how his life will end up if he continues on the same path. Skylar’s brash, confident attitude shows Will how he could live his life if he only opens up a little. Both of these gravitate around the college professor, Lambeau, who acts as a gatekeeper for Will’s smarts, if he’ll only embrace his gift.
Stylistically, the film doesn’t offer anything different or new but it does polish up all its components to make it an endearing watch nonetheless. There is a good use of editing and lingering shots here too, accentuating the emotion felt by both characters. The musical score does well to pick up at key moments too but ultimately, the film relies heavily on its character drama to push the narrative forward.
Good Will Hunting is quite simply a very good film. It’s one that shows the strength of character and just why this sort of story continues to deliver and stand the test of time. Every character has a deliberate purpose in the film and while the story itself isn’t all that impressive, the emotional punch this one packs at the end makes the journey well worth taking. Matt Damon and Robin Williams steal the show here making Good Will Hunting a film that’s as endearing to watch as it is thought-provoking to reflect over.