Will Hunting has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau, who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire.
Will Hunting, is a working class 20 year old mathematical genius, and yet chooses to shun a university education, preferring instead to be a janitor at Harvard university.
At a social level he is headstrong, arrogant, likes getting into fights as well as ending up in police cells for his regular anti-social behaviour.
Despite having friends, they are not shining beacons leading him into a better light. He is happy with his lot, shuns commitment and his best form of defence is attack both physically and verbally against those who want to impose their will on him for better or worse.
At the same university a professor of mathematics throws out a complex mathematical challenge to his students, asking them to complete the formula on a blackboard in the hall outside of his classroom. Will is cleaning floors one morning, comes across the blackboard and within seconds he has completed the formula before carrying on his duties while the professor wonders who it was!
It turns out Will was abused in his youth, and has moved on from one foster family to the next, but none of them were seemingly any better, and never reached out to his needs leaving him feeling bitter and angry.
A psychology professor (Robin Williams), spends various sessions with Will, and slowly, ever so slowly, Will begins to open up his darker side until both Will and the professor find a bond.
Make no mistake the premise is original but predictable. However, the acting performances are terrific, especially from Damon, whom I never really had much time for up until this film.
I was also impressed by the performance of Will's girlfriend, played by Minnie Driver. She soon fell in love with him, only to find that he never reciprocated and pushed her away just as had done to other people who tried to get too close to him in the past.
It is very much a feel-good film with a nice satisfying ending. It pulls at the heartstrings sometimes, but you just know everything will work out right in the end.
Miramax, Lawrence Bender Productions, Be Gentlemen Limited Partnership by Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck.
Stars: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård.
Genres: Drama, Romance
Keywords: baseball boston professor m.i.t. harvard university ambition mathematics genius love friends flashback janitor psychologist university courtroom prodigy
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