WHEN MATT DAMON and Ben Affleck burst onto the scene with Good Will Hunting at the end of 1997, I scoffed at the film, dismissing it’s clichéd story of a genius who chooses to work at MIT not as a doctoral student or professor, but as a janitor. About 10 years went by, and I began to see snippets of it on TV, and my interest was piqued. Being a big fan of Minnie Driver helped. Eventually I saw the film all the way through, and finally recognized it for the triumph that it is.
Janet Maslin wrote, and I concur:
Mr. Van Sant demonstrates how entertainingly a real pro can direct a strong if not especially groundbreaking story. The script’s bare bones are familiar, yet the film also has fine acting, steady momentum, a sharp eye and a very warm heart.
Good Will Hunting is a bright, spirited picture, and so fundamentally linked to the human experience that I consider it not only a great film but an instant classic and essential viewing. If you’ve not seen it, do so.