Thursday, 7 April 2011

Good Will Hunting

Is anyone else waiting for the second Oscar-winning screenplay from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck? I know they’ve been busy (until recently, Damon more so than Affleck), and that they essentially wrote the script because they weren’t getting the roles they wanted, but the guys obviously have talent, and I hope they start tapping away again soon. Affleck could even direct this time, as he’s shown great promise with Gone Baby Gone and, apparently, The Town (I’ve not seen it yet but am looking forward to, I’ll keep you posted).

Good Will Hunting sees Damon as an undercover genius, working as a janitor at Harvard University. He spends his nights drinking and fighting with his friends, repeatedly getting into trouble with the police until he is caught solving a complex math problem by Stellan Skarsgard’s professor. Skarsgard promises to tutor the boy, as long as he sees a psychiatrist (Robin Williams). Damon as ever is on fine form, and writes himself some of the best scenes he’s ever had, with his barroom put down of a plagiarising college-boy a particular highlight, Damon’s effortless reeling off of quotes and opinions flowing so naturally it’s a wonder the guys never won a major acting award. Williams too was a risky choice to play the mostly serious psychiatrist, bearing in mind this was released the same year as Flubber, but he excels, making Sean sympathetic yet stern, humorous and serious in the same breath. He almost steals the film from Damon, who I must say absolutely nails the expression of sheer joy when he realises Sean’s touchy subject. 
The film features some excellent scenes revolving purely around the dialogue and acting, with Damon and Williams’ conversation on the bench, and Williams and Skarsgard in the pub being too personal favourites. Usually, I don’t have as much of a problem with Affleck as an actor as most people, in fact when his character Chucky attends a job interview in Hunting’s place he is excellent, bringing an unprecedented confidence and swagger to the scene, but his reaction at the very end of the film is so terrible that it almost ruined the film for me. You can almost see his brain attempting to manoeuvre the different areas of his face into where he thinks they should be to express whatever the hell it is he’s trying to emote.

Choose film 7/10

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