Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Good Will Hunting" a contemporary classic

BASIC INFO:
TITLE: "Good Will Hunting"
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1997
DIRECTOR: Gus Van Sant
STARS: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård
EDITOR: Pietro Scalia
AWARDS: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Williams, Oscar), Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Affleck & Damon, Oscar)
BOX OFFICE: $138,339,411 (USA)
RUN TIME: 126 min.
RATING: R
VIEWING FORMAT: DVD

SUMMARY:
When a troubled MIT janitor (Damon) is found to have the mind of a genius, a professor (Skarsgård) takes him under his wing. To fulfill a court order, Will Hunting must also see a psychologist (Williams). Little do any of them know how much they will effect each other's lives.

WHY THIS IS THE FILM OF THE WEEK:
This film started as a thriller, before Rob Reiner suggested to Damon and Affleck (who share writing credit) to focus on the relationship of Will and his psychologist. That change made all the difference. Kevin Smith, who had directed both actors, brought their new script to Miramax, who bought the rights as soon as they could. Damon and Affleck were allowed to star, and make the movie their way.


They chose Gus Van Sant to direct, after Smith declined. Van Sant's previous work, especially "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989) helped cement the idea that he was the man for the job. His focus on character, with visually exciting imagery, was just the style needed for the emotionally charged tale.


While the script is wonderful, many famous lines from the film were ad-libbed. One notable instance was a humorous scene in which Sean (Williams) tells Will (Damon) about his deceased wife's idiosyncrasies. The camera can even be seen shaking, due to the camera operator laughing at the unexpected quips.

CRITIQUE:
Van Sant's film is a character drama, filled with humor and emotion. His visual style brought Damon and Affleck's script to new heights, and helped the film to become a critical and commercial darling. The story is heartfelt, the actors are wonderful, and the complete product is sometimes breathtaking. This is a film that will continue to be a part of movie fans' repertoires forever, and deservedly so.

MY IMDb RATING:  9 out of 10


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