Good Will Hunting Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 179 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Will Hunting (Damon) is a brilliant mathematician, but also an angry young man. To avoid jail time, he agrees to work with Sean (Williams) a therapist who comes from the same tough Boston neighborhood.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Intimate, heartfelt and wickedly funny, it's a movie whose impact lingers.
  2. 90
    Intelligently written, sharply directed, and beautifully played.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Damon convincingly matches Williams recrimination for recrimination in this portrayal of mutual tough love, even with the latter giving what may be the best performance of his career.
  4. Both smart and shrewd -- it wraps that same comforting message in a thoroughly entertaining package.
  5. 70
    It isn't surprising that the film was originally based on actors' improvisations, since it creates a universe of tremendously enjoyable characters and allows them plenty of room to roam, but has only the most predictable notion of plot and nothing whatever to say beyond be-yourself pieties.
  6. This is good, solid work that never achieves either the art or poignance of Van Sant's earlier and more personal projects.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Damon--as actor, not as co-screenwriter--is the best thing about Good Will Hunting.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 41
  2. Negative: 4 out of 41
  1. Feb 14, 2012
    The complexity of the characters in Good Will Hunting is astounding with it taking multiple viewing to truly understand the depth of character (even for some of its more minor characters). Good Will Hunting tells the story of (believe it or not) Will Hunting, An underachieving genius who works as a janitor at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology to us non Americans). When one of the professors (the always impressive Stellan Skaarsgard) notices him he suddenly finds his way out of his life but at the same time is sabotaging himself due to the problems of his past. The movie has a strong emotional richness as the film covers everything from love and family to abuse and heartbreak. The writing (by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) is brilliant as it has the ability to be mundane and colloquial only to turn suddenly to something eloquent and articulate. The film has a tendency to give you speeches instead of conversations but they are so well written you cannot help but listen in awe as these characters wax lyrical. The cast is sensational with Matt Damon being a solid lead as Will. Stellan Skaarsgard portrayal helps us empathise with his character despite the fact he is incredibly arrogant. Even Ben Affleck whose early career has been peppered with terrible performances gives everything as Willâ Expand
  2. May 26, 2013
    Absolutely marvelous. Matt Damon and his cast of friends, Robin Williams, and every other actor turned in outstanding performances. At many points, you're not entirely whether you're rooting for or against the kid seemingly determined to ruin his life. However, the movie had numerous good messages, such as pushing through your hardships to reach your potential. Fantastic directing and writing here, just a feel good kind of film. Expand
  3. Aug 22, 2010
    This is a great movie. I got out of it that it is a sham that without pushing that a life would be wasted and I can"t stand wasted lives. he wasn"t even on drugs. It also stresses the importance of getting your emotional stuff in order. Untill that was in order, he had no faith in himself. I guess your environment really really determines that. Great movie. you can learn so much from it. That is why I am not into action movies because I can"t learn much from them that I can"t use in life if you know what I mean. Expand
  4. Nov 11, 2013
    Undeniably genius. This movie is true to its core, lacking pretense. It brings you to an emotional roller coaster too. Thanks to the brilliant and phenomenal actors, it pulled off a great storyline. It's been a while since I get speechless by good movies, but this movie is just one of them. It's mind blowingly good, not to mention a good moral lesson to be learnt. Expand
  5. Mar 18, 2012
    Good Will Hunting is one of the greatest American Movies of all time. It is both Robin Williams and Matt Damon's best performances, and Robin Williams won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Good Will Hunting is both wise and deep. It really makes you stop and look at yourself and life. Expand
  6. Mar 28, 2013
    one of the best writing i have ever watched in a movie sure Ben affleck acting skills wasn't in the place but some how that worked he look like a shy guy who take care of his friends i loved Casey affleck performance they gave him an awesome character and since then I'm into his movies overall great movie and astonishing performance by robin Williams Expand
  7. Apr 25, 2013
    I recently had the opportunity to see Good Will Hunting for the second time. I had not seen it since its video release in 1997. It's funny how 15 years can change your opinion about a movie. I was lukewarm to the film back then, but now 15 years wiser I see it in a new light.

    I had initially dismissed this film as a two hour study of a bunch of unlikeable and unbelievable people. But now it is evident that Matt Damon deserved his Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the title character, the good Will Hunting.

    Damon does a yeoman's job making us believe in someone who is not only a math genius with a photographic memory, but a barroom-brawler, cynic, janitor, lover, and all-around down-to-earth working-class Joe. Damon and his compadre Ben Affleck also deserved their Oscar screenplay win for creating a character more fantastic than any from the mind of J.R.R. Tolkien.

    Robin Williams also deserved his Oscar win for having us buy his interpretation of an all-knowing beard-sporting eye-glinting joke-cracking-but-no-nonsense psychologist.

    Affleck, director Gus Van Sant, and the rest of the cast merit mention as well for trying to get us to like and accept all the unappealing and implausible characters who populate this fantasy world.

    All this leads me to believe that I should revisit films like Showgirls, The River Wild, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and The Greek Tycoon. Maybe I was a little too harsh in my initial assessment of these as well.

See all 41 User Reviews