Movie: Good Will Hunting
Release Date: December 5, 1997
Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver.
Tag Lines: “Some people can never believe in themselves, until someone believes in them.”
“Wildly charismatic. Impossibly brilliant. Totally rebellious. For the first 20 years of his life, Will Hunting has called the shots. Now he’s about to meet his match.”
Relevance: ‘Good Will Hunting’ had a limited release in early December of 1997. It quickly received critical acclaim and became the movie everyone was talking about over that holiday season. Its praise generated a lot of movie goers to check it out as it slowly expanded its release. The film eventually became a huge box office success and grossed over $225 million worldwide. Its nine Academy Award nominations helped that success especially when it won two of those Oscars at the 70th Annual telecast.
I went to the theater to see ‘Good Will Hunting’ sometime in early January of 1998. My son was just about to turn one, but luckily his parents made it out on the town for a rare date night. I remember the theater being packed with a range of people from their teens through their seventies. One of the film’s major draws was Robin Williams. I am not sure if people were expecting his usual comedic performance, but nonetheless they showed up to see him in the movie that finally gave him his Oscar. The film was beautifully directed and although it had its very humorous moments, it was quite the dramatic event, especially for Mr. Williams’ character. I was expecting to be entertained, which I was, but I was not expecting the emotions the film generated deep in my soul.
The moment the words “It’s not your fault” were uttered out of Robin Williams’ mouth, I completely lost it. It was a very emotional and dramatic moment in the movie, but for some reason it made me uncontrollably sob. At the time, I really couldn’t pinpoint why I had such strong emotions regarding those four particular words. Later in 1998, after I was dragged out of the closet and outed as a gay man, those four words came back to me and literally kept me alive. Maybe deep in my conscience I was “coming out” to myself in the movie, but was too bullheaded to recognize it at that particular time. Regardless, those words written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and spoken repeatedly by Robin Williams saved my life.
I cheered and rooted for ‘Good Will Hunting’ all through that awards season and was thrilled at the attention it was getting. I recommended it to everyone I knew and when it was released to home media via rental, I watched it again. When I watched it that second time, I had already come out of the closet and that touching scene near the end of the film was even more emotional for me. Thankfully that time I was watching it alone. I bought the DVD when it became available and have had it in my movie collection since and have watched it numerous times. It was a beautiful movie and one that I will forever be emotionally connected to.
Today’s Thoughts: “You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”
I probably have not watched ‘Good Will Hunting’ in about five years or so and was looking forward to seeing it again today. My husband started watching the movie with me but had to leave for work. He said he had never seen the film before, so I may be watching it again very soon. He definitely needs to see it.
Gus Van Sant’s direction is sheer perfection as is his glorious cast that he got to work with. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgard and Minnie Driver are all perfect in their roles. Mr. Damon has never been better, It is amazing to me that not only did he write this beautiful script with Mr. Affleck, but he was able to deliver a gorgeous, nuanced performance at such a young age. The character is a tough one to pull off as he at times is not very sympathetic, but kudos to both he and Mr. Van Sant for pulling it off.
‘Good Will Hunting’ is a beautiful drama that definitely makes me reach for the Kleenex box even to this day. I tried really hard not to be affected by that now infamous scene, but I just couldn’t hold back the tears. I adore this movie and highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good drama with excellent performances. If anything, you’ll get to see Robin Williams immortalized on screen in an Academy Award winning performance.
Awards: Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Robin Williams (winner), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (winner), Academy Award for Best Picture (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Matt Damon (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Minnie Driver (nomination), Academy Award for Best Director, Gus Van Sant (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Pietro Scalia (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “Miss Misery,” Elliott Smith (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Danny Elfman (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (winner), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Matt Damon (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, Robin Williams (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Robin Williams (winner), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Matt Damon (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Minnie Driver (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, Original, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Breakthrough Artist, Matt Damon (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Gus Van Sant (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Special Achievement in Filmmaking, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (winner), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, Lawrence Bender (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (nomination).
Ways to Watch: Hulu, Sling TV, Starz, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, DVD Availability.