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Story

Robin Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck nabbed one for Best Original Screenplay, but the feel-good hit Good Will Hunting triumphs because of its gifted director, Gus Van Sant. The unconventional director (My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy) saves a script marred by vanity and clunky character development by yanking soulful, touching performances out of his entire cast (amazingly, even one by Williams that's relatively schtick-free). Van Sant pulls off the equivalent of what George Cukor accomplished for women's melodrama in the '30s and '40s: He's crafted an intelligent, unabashedly emotional male weepie about men trying to find inner-wisdom.

Matt Damon stars as Will Hunting, a closet math genius who ignores his gift in favor of nightly boozing and fighting with South Boston buddies (co-writer Ben Affleck among them). While working as a university janitor, he solves an impossible calculus problem scribbled on a hallway blackboard and reluctantly becomes the prodigy of an arrogant MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgård). Damon only avoids prison by agreeing to see psychiatrists, all of whom he mocks or psychologically destroys until he meets his match in the professor's former childhood friend, played by Williams. Both doctor and patient are haunted by the past, and as mutual respect develops, the healing process begins. The film's beauty lies not with grand climaxes, but with small, quiet moments. Scenes such as Affleck's clumsy pep talk to Damon while they drink beer after work, or any number of therapy session between Williams and Damon offer poignant looks at the awkward ways men show affection and feeling for one another. --Dave McCoy

DVD Features

  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Commentary by: Director Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck
  • 11 deleted scenes with audio commentary
  • Production Featurette
  • Academy Award Best Picture Montage
  • Miss Misery Music Video
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage

Cast

Matt DamonWill Hunting
Robin WilliamsSean Maguire
Ben AffleckChuckie Sullivan
Stellan SkarsgardProf. Gerald Lambeau
Minnie DriverSkylar
Casey AffleckMorgan O'Malley
Cole HauserBilly McBride
John MightonTom - Lambeau's Teaching Assistant
Rachel MajorowskiKrystyn
Collen McCauleyCathy
Matt MercierBarbershop Quartet #1
Ralph St. GeorgeBarbershop Quartet #2
Rob LyndsBarbershop Quartet #3
Dan WashingtonBarbershop Quartet #3
Alison FollandM.I.T. Student #1
Derrick BridgemanM.I.T. Student #2
Vik SahayNemesh - M.I.T. Student #3 (as Vic Sahay)
Shannon EglesonGirl on Street
Roby LyonsCarmine Scarpaglia
Steven KozlowskiCarmine Friend #1
Jennifer DeatheLydia
Scott William WintersClark
Philip WilliamsTerry - Head Custodian
Kevin RushtonCourtroom Guard
Jimmy FlynnJudge George H. Malone
Joe CannonProsecutor
Ann MatacunasCourt Officer
George PlimptonHenry Lipkin - Psychologist
Francesco ClementeRich - Hypnotherapist
Jessica MortonMaurine - Bunker Hill College Student
Barna MoriczVinnie - Bunker Hill College Student
Libby GellerToy Store Cashier
Chas LawtherM.I.T. Professor
Richard FitzpatrickTimmy
Frank NakashimaExecutive #1
Chris BrittonExecutive #2
David EisnerExecutive #3
Bruce HunterNSA Agent #1
Robert TalvanoNSA Agent #2
James AllodiSecurity Guard
Bobby Curcuro(uncredited)
Kent DamonChess Game Player (uncredited)
Riva Di PaolaM.I.T. Student (uncredited)
Harmony KorineJerve (uncredited)
Thomas LundryWaiter (uncredited)
Daniel OlsenM.I.T. Student (uncredited)

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Gus Van Sant
  • Producer: Buena Vista
  • Length: 126 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaDec 5, 1997
    EuropeMar 6, 1998
    JapanMar 7, 1998
    AustraliaMar 12, 1998
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • Blu-ray Release
    North AmericaAug 30, 2011
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaJan 5, 1999
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