Good Will Hunting

Director: Gus Van Sant
Cast: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgard
Genre: Drama
Box Office: $138,339,411 total gross in the U.S
Trivia: Director Gus Van Sant at one point asked Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to rewrite the script so that Chuckie is killed in a construction accident. Damon and Affleck protested, but reluctantly wrote the scene in. After Van Sant read it, he agreed that it was a terrible idea.
Memorable Quotes:
Chuckie: I didn’t get on Cathy last night.
Will: No?
Chuckie: Nah.
Will: Why not?
Chuckie: I don’t know.
[yells across room]
Chuckie: Cathy!
Cathy: What?
Chuckie: Why didn’t you give me none of that nasty little hoochie-woochie you usually throw at me?
Cathy: Oh, **** you and your Irish curse, Chuckie. Like I’d waste my energy spreading my legs for that Tootsie Roll dick? So go home and give it a tug yourself.
Will: Do you like apples?
Clark: Yeah.
Will: Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?
Sean: My wife used to fart when she was nervous.
Skylar: You were hoping for a goodnight kiss.
Will: No, you know. I’ll tell ya, I was hoping for a goodnight lay, but I’d settle for a good night kiss.
Skylar: [Bursts out laughing] How very noble of you.
Will: Thank you. But I was, you know, hoping for a good night kiss.
Skylar: Well, let’s just get it over with. Come on, come on.
[They have their first kiss, Skylar giggling the whole time]
Skylar: [after a few seconds, Skylar bursts out laughing] I think I got some of your pickle!
Will: Do you find it hard to hide the fact that you’re gay?
Henry Lipkin, Psychologist: [Stammers] What are… talking… about… What?
Will: Look buddy, a few seconds ago you were ready to give me a jump!
Henry Lipkin, Psychologist: A jump? I… I’m terribly sorry… I…
Will: Hey, I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t care if you putt from the rough!

What makes a genius be a genius? One clue in this film is that its hero Will Hunting has a photographic memory to end all memories. But then, the great philosopher Henri Bergson, whose works include the seminal “Matter and Memory” (1896), used to say that “Memory is the intelligence of imbeciles.” So a one-in-a-gazillion case like Will’s must ally memory and stupendous intelligence. But what is intelligence of this caliber? Never mind. Will Hunting is a young, tough Southie (from working-class South Boston) whose miserable childhood (genes are not mentioned) has led to verbal, mental and physical aggressiveness outside his small circle of buddies. Self-taught through gobbling up books in public libraries, Will is a genius in mathematics, perhaps in other areas too.

Robin Williams delivers a class A performance, with distant affinities to that of “Dead Poets Society.” Serious, touching yet humorous, he is lively but not maniacal, frenzied or agitated, does not make with the jokes as usual. His portrayal is affecting, even memorable in many a scene. The one of his long speech by the river is heart-rending. Ranking four stars for its moving eloquence about love, it is also a superb Valentine to his dead wife.

Maverick Gus Van Sant has directed a movie with mainstream appeal and predictable developments. But is the subject also of a mainstream nature? Not really. It may create that impression but deep down its is original, offbeat.

American films are like the USA itself. They are built on a grand scale far more often than in other national cinemas. They deal with superlatives. “Good Will Hunting” does not have the gigantism of views, crowds, actions or disasters, yet it fits the superlative label with Will’s mind being extra-extraordinary. Will is a Superman of the mind and the intellect, which by itself makes the film a rarity, especially in the way it also weaves in the intimate Will.

The movie misses out on just one thing, its title. Not catchy, too cute, making little sense, it sounds like a hunt for bargains at GoodWill Industries.


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