Matt Damon (Will Hunting), Robin
Williams (Professor Sean Maguire), Ben Affleck (Chuckie), Minnie Driver (Skylar), Stellan Skarsgard (Professor Lambeau), Casey Affleck (Morgan), Cole Hauser
(Billy), John Mighton (Tom)
Though their acting careers started many years prior,
stars Matt Damon & Ben Affleck introduced themselves into the public eye with their screenwriting debut, for which they received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
While the story is rather connect-the-dots, what sets
it apart is the razor-sharp dialogue, while Gus Van Sant's low-key direction and great performances gives the film it's humanity.
Damon plays Will Hunting, a closet maths genius who'd
rather spend his life getting drunk with his buddies and sweeping the corridors of prestigious college, MIT.
When his gift for equations and theory is outed,
professor Lambeau, a decorated tutor at the institution tries to give the boy's life some direction and arranges psychiatric help for him only for Will to make fools of the
The last resort is to hire unconventional local
psychiatrist Sean Maguire to make a break through and help Will discover his potential, and following a tense initial meeting, the two develop a friendship and Will receives the guidance
necessary to make his life a success.
The film does suffer from a few cinematic clichés and
a "love conquers all" ending, but the dialogue is 100% original and genius in itself.
The film truly achieved what it set out to do, making
stars out of it's acting/writing duo. Though they never again received accolades for their writing talents since (although Affleck later turned his attentions to directing).