Good Will Hunting (1997)

Matt Damon (Will), Ben Affleck (Chuckie), Robin Williams (Sean), Minnie Driver (Skylar)

Directed by Gus Van Sant (To Die For)

IMDB: "Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics which is discovered, and a psychologist tries to help him with his gift and the rest of his life."

My mom theorizes that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are a front for whoever actually wrote this screenplay. She insists that no 27-yo guys, no matter how brilliant, could so accurately portray the ideas and emotional journeys contained within this script. And every year that passes without a follow-up Affleck/Damon-penned project only reinforces her belief. I tend to agree with her.

But who would the real writers be? Who would allow these two charismatic actors to take credit for their screenplay, with no hint blackmail rumors and secret plots in the decade since its release?

Their moms.

Mama Affleck and Mama Damon, shrewd and ambitious businesswomen with an eye for the human condition, figured their lovely and talented sons would be better served by taking credit for the screenplay and bringing the characters to life on screen. A real fairy tale Hollywood story. Everyone wins. Seeing as how both Damon and Affleck took their mamas to the Oscar ceremony where they won for best original screenplay, that has to be the answer.

Good enough.

Anyway, this is one of my favorites. I re-watched it last week and realized I've never blogged about it. The scene that floors me every time, both for the acting and the writing, is when Skylar asks Will to come with her to California. I wind up a raging puddle of tears by the end of that encounter. The realism of the argument gets me because what begins as a tender and sweet moment -- they are just hanging out being in love -- flares into a wildfire of insecurities, fears, and passions. Just perfect.

However, the chemistry between Driver and Damon pales next to the chemistry between Damon and Affleck. This movie is why they are stars. They are just perfect together, a blend of comedy and love and tough guy shtick that rings true. Neither has interacted as well with a co-star since, no matter the successes and renown they've achieved. Great flick -- no matter who really wrote the thing.

1 comment:

Pacze Moj said...

Weren't there rumours that William Goldman (or Kevin Smith [or both]) wrote (or rewrote [or both]) Good Will Hunting?

At any rate, some earlier version of it had the FBI chasing down Will Hunting to use him as a spy!