Despite the moving dialogues and the likable characters, Good Will Hunting is squashed by its bland plotline and far-fetched characterization. Released in 1997, the movie is directed by Gus Van Gant and hosts starring actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck at the dawn of their successful careers. The plot is about Will Hunting, a brilliant young man, who wastes his potential due to a lack of direction before receiving help from his support system.
Most viewers can agree that the film’s forte resides in the rich dialogues. Starting from Will’s conversation with his therapist to the long chat with his best friend, there are many inspiring quotes to be extracted and mulled over. Additionally, each dialogues ties to the main purpose in the plot, which is to motivate Will Hunting
The characters differ by roles and personalities yet they are all tied by the same intensity as they deliver their respective lines. Again, the movie presents many actors in their pre-fame era but their performance is proof that they were destined for more.
The main sin of Good Will Hunting is its lack of originality. The story of the talented youth who needs to be mentored is overused in Hollywood films. Furthermore, there is no special spin in the plot which makes the story too predictable. It is possible to imagine the ending through the first scenes.
The application of the “show not tell” rule would have been beneficial to the plot, especially with the group of competent actors. As shown before, the dialogues are the strongest features of the movie. Indeed, they were eloquent and relevant but excessive, which makes some scenes look unrealistic. To see characters deliver articulate and persuasive speeches on the spot might cause disengagement from the viewers.
Lastly, Will's love life was helpful but unnecessary to the plot as a whole. Moreover, the relationship seemed fast, one-sided, and toxic yet it has a major and controversial impact on the ending. It could have been used to show a vulnerable and agreeable side of Will Hunting, which would make the plot more relatable and interesting.
For a low-budget project, Good Will Hunting has certainly exceeded expectations. Although overrated, this movie should appeal to a broad audience because it provides practical lessons about dreams, hardships, and in-between.