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Good Will Hunting

Some people can never believe in themselves, until someone believes in them. 

Year: 1997 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Gus Van Sant 
Starring: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck  
An image from Good Will Hunting

A classic for a reason, Good Will Hunting follows Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a young, working-class navigating life in Boston in a moving exploration of identity, self-worth, otherness and belonging. We watch as Will dons different versions of himself, splitting his time between evenings in bars with his childhood friends turned family, his fledgling relationship with an affluent MIT student, and meetings with therapist-turned-mentor Robin Williams. He has one foot in a world of prestigious academics, experimental mathematics and the shine of a world-leading college, the other in that of police brawls, public libraries, and the monotony of everyday janitor work.

Intricately nuanced and irrefutably human, we can’t help but root for Will. Anchored by Williams’ honest, challenging attempts to connect with him, he strives to be better and self-sabotages in equal measure, making for a raw and emotive couple of hours that will leave you feeling things in HD.

Anna Taylor

Violence, redemption and equations: Matt Damon stars in break-out role as boy genius with a dark past.

'You’re sitting on a winning lottery ticket, and your too much of a p***y to cash it in.' So speaks Chuckie (Affleck) to Will Hunting (Damon) a boy genius who seems hell-bent on self-destruction. Will is an explosive combination of intelligence, violence, and yet, hidden vulnerability. If anything, this is a film of the masks we wear to hide our true natures.

The opening shot is baby-faced Damon poring over books. It’s a stereotypical but tell-tale image. Will is a genius. But he also has a criminal record and has been in and out of foster-homes. By day, Will works as a janitor at MIT. After solving a very-difficult-looking equation, Will catches the eye of Professor Lambeau (Skarsgard) who wants to tutor him. But Will must undergo weekly therapy sessions.

Will's walls are built high, but Sean, a depressed, alcoholic therapist (Williams) sees right through him. Sean and Will have a rocky start, their first meeting nearly ending in a punch-up. However, as they grow closer, both seem to need each other.

Damon's physical presence is striking. Tough, cool and inexpressive, the genius of Damon's performance lies in his tiny glimpses of vulnerability: a tensed jaw, the odd eye-twitch. They are easy to miss. Will's bravado disguises a deep well of insecurity and pain.

Affleck plays Will's sidekick and partner in crime. Now known for his role as the sullen anti-hero Batman, Affleck surprises us as Chuckie: charismatic, silly and devilishly charming. Chuckie isn't smart, but he knows enough to see that Will doesn't belong here.

Good Will Hunting is a story of sacrifice: what we must leave behind in order to change and grow.

Jessica Corne

Critically acclaimed, Good Will Hunting is a timeless classic about a young maths prodigy with no direction. Starring Robin Williams in what is arguably one of his best roles as a psychologist, he bounces off the exuberant Matt Damon as the titular Will Hunting. What follows is a beautiful film following the push and pull on Will Hunting by those around him and the one person he can truly relate to. This films acts as a testament to the late, great Robin Williams.

Harry Austin

Everything about the premise says ‘derivative, formulaic, predictable.’ But to the credit of screenwriters and stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as well as director Gus Van Sant, the film rises above its apparent limitations to become a first class film with a great cast and wonderful script.

Will Hunting (Damon) is a brilliant but tormented young man. Clearly a mathematical genius, he also has a criminal record longer than the formulas on the MIT chalkboards that he cracks open like stale walnuts. After his latest violent encounter, he is saved from doing serious time by MIT Math Professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) who recognises the lad’s brilliance and bails him out on two conditions: Will must attend math tutorials with Lambeau and undergo therapy.

Amidst all this, Mr. Hunting manages to attract the attention of a bright and beautiful Harvard undergrad (Driver). At this point Good Will Hunting could easily have become predictable: tough, demanding professor lights a spark in the belligerent youth - beautiful girl shows him how to love and be loved - therapist unravels all the tangled threads of his torment. Fortunately, the movie is saved from most of these predictable fates.

Good Will Hunting takes a different tack and the movie is much better for it. The dialogue consistently brings each character to life. It is a confident film with great performances and an authentic look, sound and feel.

Dom Mellor

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Screenings of this film:

1997/1998 Summer Term (35mm)
1997/1998 Summer Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Spring Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Spring Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Spring Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
2014/2015 Spring Term (digital)
2018/2019 Summer Term (35mm)
2022/2023 Autumn Term (35mm)
2023/2024 Summer Term (35mm)