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Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting (1997)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 69
Fresh: 67 | Rotten: 2

It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.

100

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 0

It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 354,963

My Rating

Movie Info

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-scripted and star in this drama, set in Boston and Cambridge, about rebellious 20-year-old MIT janitor Will Hunting (Damon), gifted with a photographic memory, who hangs out with his South Boston bar buddies, his best friend Chuckie (Affleck), and his affluent British girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver). After MIT professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) stumps students with a challenging math formula on a hallway blackboard, Will anonymously leaves the correct solution,

R,

Drama

Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

Dec 8, 1998

Miramax Films

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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (67) | Rotten (2) | DVD (14)

Towering performance by Matt Damon as a troubled working class who needs to address his creative genius elevates this drama way above its therapeutic approach, resulting in a zeitgeist film that may touch chord with young viewers the way The Graduate did

February 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film works as a character-driven narrative because Mr. Van Sant and his co-screenwriters are not afraid to unlock the psychological mysteries of their five major characters with clear and concise dialogue.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's acted and directed with care, and Damon is outstanding, his scenes with Driver being especially sparky.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the charismatic performances of Damon and Affleck make "Good Will Hunting" a difficult entertainment to resist, doing just that is not as hard as the film would like to think.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Good Will Hunting narrowly avoids many sentimental pitfalls thanks to what doesn't happen...

January 1, 2000
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even rarer than a breath of fresh air is a breath of fresh Hollywood film. Brainy and heartfelt and right on target, Good Will Hunting is such a film.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Most movies about troubled individuals are insulting in the way in which they suddenly wrap things up with insipid developments that cause tumultuous, positive transformations in the protagonist; this film avoids that pitfall.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Despite its coarse exterior, Good Will Hunting proves to be a rather positive and motivational experience.

May 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Houston Community Newspapers
Houston Community Newspapers

Can get overly sentimental at times, but Gus Van Sant's sensitive direction... and his excellent use of the city make it a hugely entertaining and effective film.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The film succeeds not because of an overall arc, but as a chain of smaller moments that glimmer in their minuscule perfection.

October 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star | Comments (4)
Arizona Daily Star

For the first time in his career, Van Sant is invisible as a filmmaker, simply getting out of the way of the story and his performers. The film is richer for it.

June 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Ain't It Cool Movie Reviews
Ain't It Cool Movie Reviews

Affleck is on my long list for Academy notice this year.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

... beneath their arrogance and crass behavior, you'll find a lot of hurt and many defense mechanisms raised against a compassionless, manipulative society.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

Uno sale del cine y se da cuenta de por qué la película recibió tanta atención.

June 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinenganos
Cinenganos

A charming, entertaining and uplifting movie with the title that perfectly fits its quality.

April 21, 2004 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Not a work of art or great power, but it has some moving moments.

February 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (29)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Though the movie tells a straightforward story, there are enough offbeat touches along the way to balance out its more predictable aspects.

July 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Reality of story combines with reality of performance to give us some of the most heartfelt emotions currently on the big screen.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Good Will Hunting is another auspicious sign that the best of Young Hollywood is not only bringing back respect for the craft of acting, but for the cogent telling of tales as well.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Damon ain't crazy talented like Vincent Gallo, but he's still more than a pretty face.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal | Comment (1)
Montreal Film Journal

É realmente impressionante que dois jovens como Matt Damon e Ben Affleck tenham sido capazes de escrever um roteiro tão complexo quanto o de 'Gênio Indomável'.

May 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Three soul friends help a troubled young man to find his place in the world.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Touching, without being sentimental, and feelgood without appearing contrived, this is one shrink-wrapped drama that's worth unpacking.

December 10, 2001 Full Review Source: BBC

Audience Reviews for Good Will Hunting

A deeply honest and heartfelt drama that impresses for the complexity of the excellent script written by Damon and Affleck, which doesn't even let us notice how attached to the characters we gradually grow. And we can forgive it for the sentimental 'it's not your fault' scene.
July 26, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

It's over-long for a film of its nature, but despite the length, the film does not lag. In fact, it is beautifully filmed, exceptionally acted, brilliantly written, and---in the end---extremely heartwarming. It is a triumph.
July 13, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Sean: Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.

"Some people can never believe in themselves, until someone believes in them."

There's nothing too original to say about Good Will Hunting, as everyone who sees it basically ends up spouting out the same stuff. It's a brilliant film, a masterpiece really. It's one of those movies that I could watch on a weekly basis. It's intelligent, it has huge heart, it's funny, it's sad, it's entertaining, and it's about as close to perfection, when it comes to filmmaking, as you can get. This was the movie that allowed Gus Van Sant to take his career where he wanted to, and that makes it an even more special achievement.

Will Hunting works as a janitor at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, M.I.T. When a professor puts a virtually impossible to solve problem up on the chalk board outside of his classroom, Will solves it. The professor tracks him down and gets him out of some legal trouble. All he has to do to avoid jail is work with the professor with math and go to counseling. He's fine with the math, but hates the idea of counseling. As the story goes on he meets a girl and we slowly learn why he is so stuck in the position in life that he is and why he is unwilling and unable to use his unique skill.

What hits you right off the bat with this film is how smooth the dialogue flows, and that's a testament to the writing of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who just won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Then the performances hit you. Damon is phenomenal. Stellan Skasgard is great, even Affleck and Minnie Driver are really good. But everyone knows that Robin Williams steals the show and also, justly, wins a best supporting actor Oscar for his turn as Sean, Will's counselor. Van Sant's direction is also good, but with a screenplay like this and actors on top of their game, it makes it a lot easier.

If you're one of the five people who haven't seen this film, you definitely need to. It's one of those must see movies. It's hard to describe just how good the film is with words, you just need to see it to truly know. 
June 24, 2013
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Coming off the heels of the sadly underrated but brilliant To Die For, Van Sant made his first overtly mainstream, but no less superb effort, which is this movie.

Co-written by co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, this is the story of Will Hunting- a troubled 20 year-old janitor at MIT with a dark past, and a bad attitude, but an amazing gift for upper level mathematics. He is a genius, but would rather spend his time hanging out with his blue collar buddies in Southie. After secretly solving a challenging math problem posed for students, the professor seeks Will out. Due to some troubles with the law, he's facing jail time, but finds an out. The catch is that he has to do math for MIT and see a therapist. He reluctantly agrees, and despite a rough start, he soon finds himself with a better grasp on both his troubled past and his uncertain future.

Damon and Affleck won Oscars for their script, and Robin Williams won an Oscar for his turn as Will's no-nonsense sage therapist. It's all some very impressive work. and the film itself is quite a marvel. It's a very touching and moving drama with some great life lessons and message, but there's still a decent amount of humor here, too.

The film is well shot, the cast are terrific, and, as I said, there's a strong message. The characters are well crafted and believable, too. It's fine that Van Sant directed this. He's versatile, and his style is pretty fluid, or at least it can be, so he's a fine match. It's a fine film, even if it might be a tad overrated. It does a lot right though, so, even with the hype, give it a chance.
June 13, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Will Hunting: Fucking people baffle me.
    – Submitted by Chandler B (2 months ago)
    1. Will Hunting: Fucking people baffle me.
    – Submitted by Chandler B (2 months ago)
    1. Sean McGuire: Liberty is a soul's right to breathe.
    – Submitted by Samira O (6 months ago)
    1. Sean McGuire: Disrespect my wife again and I'll burn down your house!
    – Submitted by Jesse K (12 months ago)
    1. Sean McGuire: People call those imperfections, but no, that's the good stuff.
    – Submitted by Nico L (13 months ago)
    1. Lambeau: Most days I wish I'd never met you 'cause then I could sleep at night. I didn't have to walk around with the knowledge that there was someone like you out there. I didn't have to watch you throw it all away.
    – Submitted by Herrera M (16 months ago)
View all quotes (25)

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Latest News on Good Will Hunting

August 23, 2012:
Gus Van Sant's Promised Land Moved to December
The Matt Damon and John Krasinski-led project will receive a limited release on December 28.
October 28, 2011:
Weekly Ketchup: Damon and Affleck Reunite for Boston Gangster Flick
This week's Ketchup includes new roles for Robert De Niro, Nathan Fillion, Kim Kardashian, Matthew...
January 6, 2011:
Terrence Malick Suggested Good Will Hunting's Ending
Did you enjoy the ending of "Good Will Hunting"? Turns out you have Terrence Malick to thank.

Foreign Titles

  • Will Hunting (FR)
  • El indomable Will Hunting (ES)
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