Good Will Hunting (1997)

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Starring: Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgard, Casey Affleck, George Plimpton

Director: Gus Van Sant

Summary: A child abuse survivor reveals a surprising genius for mathematics

Other Nominations: Director, Actor (Damon), Supporting Actor (Williams)*, Supporting Actress (Driver), Original Screenplay*, Original Song (“Miss Misery”), Original Dramatic Score, Film Editing

It’s still remarkable that this was the first screenplay for either Damon and Affleck, because it’s what makes this film something really memorable. The dialogue is really good for the most part, the characters and their struggles are well-written and developed, and the “bigger” moments feel more realistic and restrained than in lesser screenplays. I like everyone in the movie, but Williams is the standout-partially because he gets the best part and a lot of the best dialogue, and partially because he’s great at expressing both self-assuredness and melancholy without going over the top. If I had a criticism, it would be that it gets overly-sentimental sometimes, which tonally feels off compared to how grounded the movie usually is. Overall though, a very good movie with a great screenplay and some strong performances.

Rating: B+

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