Monday, 6 February 2012
Good Will Hunting
Sure, this film's plot is fairly predictable. Sure, if you boiled it down to its essential components it wouldn't amount to much. Sure, Will Hunting's genius is profoundly unrealistic.
Yet I'm giving this one 10 out of 10.
I don't know whether Matt and Ben have ever been in therapy, but they certainly understand a lot about the human psyche, how it ducks responsibility, and pushes blame onto others, how it dismisses the real gifts it has and concentrates on running itself down. How many of us suffer from the same problems as Will? Only those who deny their own vulnerability will remain unaffected by this film.
Not only is the script powerful, but the dynamics between the characters - all of them selfish, even Skylar - is vividly and plausibly executed. The film just about manages to avoid easy answers, preferring to acknowledge (indeed, highlight) the complexity and pain of personal growth and self-realisation.
You could read a lot of self-help books, but they won't bring across to you as powerfully as this film what it's like to be scared, what it's like to experience loss, how difficult it is to shake off your old ways of thinking, how important honesty to yourself is. If this is the kind of revelation Matt and Ben are going to come up with, I look forward to their future efforts.
The first time I saw it, I felt moved as the credits rolled. On my way home from the cinema, I felt sombre. When I got home, I finally burst into tears. This film burns slowly, inside you.
As cinema, it's fair to middling. The performances are all first class. The script is a jewel. As wisdom, it's second to none. A fine achievement.