UK Release Date: 6th March 1998
Watched on Sky+ Monday 16th July 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
It’s odd to think that in all the years I’ve been watching movies I never saw this one before. I guess Robin Williams got a reputation for making some particularly schmaltzy films in the nineties and so I probably passed on it for that reason. Well it finally caught up with me today and I’m quite glad it did! Much better than I was expecting; it has one or two problems, but still worthy of a couple of hours of my time. Here’s a brief summary then I’ll tell you what I thought.
When a janitor working at MIT solves an equation left on a board by Professor Gerald Lambeau, he is sought out by the Professor. The janitor in question is a young man, Will Hunting, who has a bit of a rap sheet and is in trouble with the law yet again. The Professor has him released into his custody on the condition that he’ll work with him on some mathematical proofs and that he’ll attend a psychologist. At first Will just plays with the psychologists presented to him, that is until Professor Lambeau brings in his former roommate Sean Maguire. Sean is from the same district of Boston as Will and has an idea of how to handle him. Slowly, a trust is built up between them and Will begins to see what a great opportunity he has. There’s also a girl, Skylar, and his best friend, Chuckie Sullivan, who contribute to his awakening. But what will he do with it?... I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Boston Division) will have me polishing baseballs (again).
Well made with some nice musical numbers thrown into the mix. Nothing particularly different in the cinematography but still well put together. On the performance front, Matt Damon did an excellent job as Will Hunting, as did Robin Williams as Sean Maguire. I also thought Stellan Skarsgård did a very good job as Prof. Gerald Lambeau, also Ben Affleck as Chuckie Sullivan and Minnie Driver as Skylar. Also worthy of note were Casey Affleck and Cole Hauser as Will’s friends Morgan O'Mally and Billy McBride.
Although I thought the film was very good and the performances were all excellent I didn’t quite get the relationship between Will and Skylar. I didn’t feel enough time was spent with them for the relationship to become as strong as it was portrayed. Other than that I was with it one hundred percent; I believed in the characters and I found no problem in following their motivations. There’s also some great dialogue that gives this one an edge, I really enjoyed that aspect. Over all, a decent drama with maybe slight problem or two, but still… RECOMMENDED.
My Score 8.5/10
IMDb Score: 8.1/10 (based on 250,891 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 70/100: (Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 318,354 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Sean: Do you have a soul mate?
Will: Define that.
Sean: Someone you can relate to, someone who opens things up for you.
Will: Sure, I got plenty.
Sean: Well, name them.
Will: Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O'Conner...
Sean: Well that's great. They're all dead.
Will: Not to me, they're not.
Sean: You can't have a lot of dialogue with them.
Will: Not without a heater and some serious smelling salts.
Billy: You're legally allowed to drink now, so we figured the best thing for you was a car.
Sean: Maybe *you're* perfect right now. Maybe you don't wanna ruin that. I think that's a super philosophy, Will; that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody...
Will: ...You ever think about gettin' remarried?
Sean: My wife's dead.
Will: Hence the word: remarried.
Sean: She's dead.
Will: Yeah; well, I think that's a super philosophy, Sean. I mean, that way you could actually go through the rest of your life without ever really knowing anybody.
Sean: Time's up.
Will: What do I wanna way outta here for? I'm gonna live here the rest of my fuckin' life. We'll be neighbours, have little kids, take 'em to Little League up at Foley Field.
Chuckie: Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way but, in 20 years if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house, watchin' the Patriots games, workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill ya. That's not a threat, that's a fact, I'll fuckin' kill ya.
Will: What the fuck you talkin' about?
Chuckie: You got somethin' none of us have...
Will: Oh, come on! What? Why is it always this? I mean, I fuckin' owe it to myself to do this or that. What if I don't want to?
Chuckie: No. No, no no no. Fuck you, you don't owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. Cuz tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'll be 50, and I'll still be doin' this shit. And that's all right. That's fine. I mean, you're sittin' on a winnin' lottery ticket. And you're too much of a pussy to cash it in, and that's bullshit. 'Cause I'd do fuckin' anything to have what you got. So would any of these fuckin' guys. It'd be an insult to us if you're still here in 20 years. Hangin' around here is a fuckin' waste of your time.