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GOOD WILL HUNTING [Blu-ray]
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Robin Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck nabbed one for Best Original Screenplay, but the feel-good hit Good Will Hunting triumphs because of its gifted director, Gus Van Sant. The unconventional director (My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy) saves a script marred by vanity and clunky character development by yanking soulful, touching performances out of his entire cast (amazingly, even one by Williams that's relatively schtick-free). Van Sant pulls off the equivalent of what George Cukor accomplished for women's melodrama in the '30s and '40s: He's crafted an intelligent, unabashedly emotional male weepie about men trying to find inner-wisdom.
Robin Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck nabbed one for Best Original Screenplay, but the feel-good hit Good Will Hunting triumphs because of its gifted director, Gus Van Sant. The unconventional director (My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy) saves a script marred by vanity and clunky character development by yanking soulful, touching performances out of his entire cast (amazingly, even one by Williams that's relatively schtick-free). Van Sant pulls off the equivalent of what George Cukor accomplished for women's melodrama in the 1930s and 40s: He's crafted an intelligent, unabashedly emotional male weepie about men trying to find inner-wisdom.
Matt Damon stars as Will Hunting, a closet maths genius who ignores his gift in favour of nightly boozing and fighting with South Boston buddies (co-writer Ben Affleck among them). While working as a university janitor, he solves an impossible calculus problem scribbled on a hallway blackboard and reluctantly becomes the prodigy of an arrogant MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgård). Damon only avoids prison by agreeing to see psychiatrists, all of whom he mocks or psychologically destroys until he meets his match in the professor's former childhood friend, played by Williams. Both doctor and patient are haunted by the past and, as mutual respect develops, the healing process begins. The film's beauty lies not with grand climaxes, but with small, quiet moments. Scenes such as Affleck's clumsy pep talk to Damon while they drink beer after work, or any number of therapy session between Williams and Damon offer poignant looks at the awkward ways men show affection and feeling for one another. --Dave McCoy --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The taut screenplay keeps you riveted as events unfold. Despite it's straightforward thematic backbone, Good Will Hunting does an impressive job playing out complex emotional negotiations between lover and friend, eager professional mentor and unwilling father figure, with the bitterness any hardworking career academic like the professor must inevitably feel in the face of a genetic miracle who'd rather chase girls than gunk around with theorems and formulas.
On the negative side, some characters may come across as cardboard (an arrogant MIT professor; a humble-by-choice psychologist who turns out to be The Most Effective; an unsung math prodigy from the wrong side of Boston who never really saw the face of school but can recite page numbers from economics books; etc) but all of it is executed with such magnificent grace, style and heartfelt emotional realism that it has moved me every single time I have watched it (5 times).
Special mention for the fabulous cameos from Robin Williams in a rare subdued but effective performance sans his usual comedic histrionics, and Minnie Driver, who is simply stunning in her role as Mr. Precocious' love interest.
The DVD has some neat special features including interviews with the director and some interesting outtakes. This one's a keeper.
I understand that before Matt Damon was an actor, he wrote this story as a 50 page assignment for a creative writing class at Harvard. The story haunted him, however, and with his friend, fellow actor Ben Affleck, they created the screenplay by improvising each scene together. What resulted was this work of art. Don't miss it!
Matt Damon and Minnie Driver earned an Oscar nomination for their performances (Best Actor/ Best Supporting Actress). Damon seemed made for that role. As with Robin Williams, they desplict their character's emotions and turbulances to the fullest, offering audiences a more emotional feel. Williams proves that he's capable of performing dramatic films as well as his signature comedy. All other actors also desplict their presence wonderfully.
"Good Will Hunting" is a great film for most audiences for enjoyment. Its quality proves that it will someday become a classic.
But try to watch it and you'll see how strong it really is. Affleck and Damon have written an intelligent and engaging movie with some exceptionally moving and real moments. Williams is outstanding - few actors could deliver his key lines (and key silences) with the understated conviction he brings. Damon and Affleck, and their buddies, transcend the vanity project tag and really embody their characters. You're with them. You care about them. And so when the movie completes its rather conventional arc, you're happy that everything went pretty much the way you thought it would.
Directed with an extremely perceptive and sensitive touch by Gus Van Sant, "Good Will Hunting" breaks no new ground, but it's not supposed to. It's an effective, simple, engaging character study with sharp performances. To add "and nothing more" to that sentence would be a travesty, since it's a rare movie that offers even that much. Well done, Ben n' Matt - write another one, huh?
Most recent customer reviews
Robin Williams, great actor/comedian. Will be missed by all I'm sure.Published 1 month ago by Terry
This movie was just as great as I remembered. Every single actor/actress did a great job in the film, and I still can't believe Mat and Ben wrote the whole script. Read morePublished 2 months ago by OLGA S.
I really enjoyed the movie but found that the swearing was really excessive and for me that pulled down the quality of this film and the performances - it was so over the top!!Published 2 months ago by Ruth Irwin
I was extremely impressed to have received this order at my house the very next day! Movie played perfectly and the quality was outstanding.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer