It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
The best thing about Good Will Hunting is not in its well-crafted, psychological symmetries but in the just-plain messiness of its humanity. It's rowdy, it's funny, it's heartbreaking - it rings of life.
Towering performance by Matt Damon as a troubled working class who needs to address his creative genius elevates this drama way above its therapeutic approach, resulting in a zeitgeist film that may touch chord with young viewers the way The Graduate did
Los Angeles Times
While the charismatic performances of Damon and Affleck make "Good Will Hunting" a difficult entertainment to resist, doing just that is not as hard as the film would like to think.
Most movies about troubled individuals are insulting in the way in which they suddenly wrap things up with insipid developments that cause tumultuous, positive transformations in the protagonist; this film avoids that pitfall.
The film works as a character-driven narrative because Mr. Van Sant and his co-screenwriters are not afraid to unlock the psychological mysteries of their five major characters with clear and concise dialogue.