Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Good Will Hunting' is the definition of a feel good movie

Good Will Hunting (1997) Original One-Sheet Movie Poster ...

Story

The story revolves around Will Hunting, a janitor working at MIT who is discovered to be a genius after anonymously solving an advanced math problem. He gets into an altercation and ends up assaulting a police officer. He then studies advanced mathematics with an MIT professor while attending therapy. In those sessions, we discover more about Will and why he acts the way he does, seemingly wasting his potential.
When looking at the story now, it seems cliche and predictable as many movies have tackled this type of plot before, but this does feel special.

Acting

I think this is where the film really succeeds. Matt Damon and Robin Williams give the strongest performances in the entire movie.
Matt Damon gives the strongest performances in the movie. By the end of the movie, we understand Will's actions and in turn feel sorry for him when we are supposed to. You also get to see his more sensitive side which makes him more endearing.
I'm used to seeing Robin Williams in more comedic roles so seeing him in something dramatic was a welcome change. It goes without saying that Robin Williams is a good actor, and this movie solidifies that statement. Even though his character Sean is meant to help Will sort out his issues, he also has his own baggage to sort out making him even more likeable and genuine.
The supporting cast makes this movie very well rounded.
Ben Affleck plays Will's best friend Chuckie and given the fact that the two of them are actually friends, it translates well on screen. Towards the end of the film, Chuckie has a conversation with  Will and in that moment you see just how much he cares about his friend.
Minnie Driver plays Skylar, Will's love interest and her dynamic with Will is cute and I don't mean that in a negative way. I like her because she challenges Will without compromising herself.
The most interesting supporting character in the movie is Prof. Gerald Lambeau. His character can be seen as the antagonist of the movie but there is more to it than that. Even though there are moments where he has a superiority complex, we understand why. He is afraid of failure and that drives him. It's also clear that he wants Will to use his gift to further his field but it seems like he is going about it the wrong way.

Writing/Direction

This is the screenplay that won Ben Affleck and Matt Damon their first Oscar and there were moments where I could see why. The dialogue in a lot of scenes feels organic, especially when Will is talking to his friends, they feel like they're real friends. There are moments where the conversations are rudimentary, but it's a nice contrast to the more emotional and complex scenes.
The scenes involving professors or MIT students also feel real, even though most of the discussions about math went over my head.
Gus Van Sant is a director that I haven't heard much about recently and that made me wonder if he was a one-hit-wonder. After doing some research, he has made quite a few movies since then, mostly arthouse and indie films. The direction in this film is good, there are many scenes with good shot composition and framing of the characters but there aren't any shots in particular that stood out to me.

Overall Thoughts

Interestingly enough, I was not a huge fan of the movie till about half-way through, it didn't necessarily have the smoothest run and the plot seems to grind to a halt at some points.
That being said, this is a feel-good film that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy at the end.
I think the organic way the characters interact with their environments and each other is what makes this movie special.
Even though the plot slows down in the middle which pads the runtime, the film is filled with genuine heart and much like Moonlight makes one think about their life and whether they are wasting it.
It also helps that it has one of the most quotable lines in "How do you like them apples?"

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