‘It’s not your fault…’
It is easy to understand upon watching Good Will Hunting why people thought that both director Gus Van Sant and executive producer Kevin Smith had something to do with the script writing process.
Looking at Damon and Affleck in this film I will admit it is difficult to believe that two men with such terrible haircuts wrote such a wonderful script. Isolated, disenfranchised youth is nothing new but Damon and Affleck’s inspired script is more than a match for the likes of Catcher In The Rye in literature and Donnie Darko in cinema.
I like early Affleck but he had definitely not yet found his feet at this stage of his career, despite this he brings a lot of warmth to a script that obviously means a lot to both Affleck and Damon. The scene near the end where Affleck’s Chuckie tells Damon’s Will Hunting that it would be an insult to him if Hunting doesn’t use his gift to escape construction is particularly well acted and touching.
So to the main event. Robin Williams tragic passing brought forth a huge outpouring of affection and it is for roles like this one that he is best loved. Film critic Barry Norman recently argued that Williams made more bad films than good but he is at the height of his powers in Good Will Hunting and he deservedly won an Oscar (along with the aforementioned script).
Williams seems to be just as invested in this film as Damon and Affleck and he has a brilliant on screen presence with both Damon and Stellan Skarsgård. I personally never saw the appeal of Minnie Driver in this film but she was also Oscar nommed so someone somewhere obviously did. That is a minor gripe though. Good Will Hunting is quite simply of the best films of the nineties. It is more poignant now than ever.