This is another one of those films that I’m shocked that I haven’t seen yet. It’s consistently on “Greatest Movie” lists, and it’s the film that put Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the map—both as actors and writers. Somehow, however, it’s slipped through the cracks.
I’m remedying that as I type!
Immediately, I’m impressed by the duality of Will’s character. It completely works. He’s a janitor, stereotypically menial and perceived as uneducated. He solves an impressively complex theorem, apparently without ever going through any form of higher education. He’s got a hot temper, but is a complete genius. He’s got deeper issues, and is forced to struggle with his past, while deciding about his future, and what that entails. Does he do what’s expected of him? Does he perform? Or does he make the choice that’s right for him? The ending is open, and I’m left really considering: does it end there? What does he do after the film ends? I really, really enjoyed this movie.
Robin Williams gives his greatest performance. I’m a big fan of his, and he absolutely blows it out of the park. He plays the psychologist who teaches Will a bit of humanity. He humbles him, using both logic and emotion. It is beautiful and poignant to watch their relationship grow.
On the other hand, Stella Skarsgård plays an MIT mathematics professor who wants Will to achieve his potential. That is, he wants Will to achieve what he believes his potential to be. However, that is not what Robin Williams’ character seeks. He wants Will to do what is right for him, so that he can grow.
One of the great touches is the relationship between Ben and Casey Affleck, brothers in real life playing brothers in the film. They bring a great chemistry to the screen, and they jive with Matt Damon’s character, bringing believability to Will’s life.
Minnie Driver, who I like, but haven’t seen her in too many things, also plays Will’s love interest. She doesn’t get him, but tries her best to get through to him. However, he pushes her away out of instinct, even though it’s the last thing he actually wants to do.
This is probably one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time. I can’t believe I’ve missed it for this long. It’s uniquely character-driven, it’s not what I expected, and I am pleasantly surprised.
Do you like apples? Well, I got her number! How do you like them apples?