The Academy Award winning classic Good Will Hunting owes its success directly to the delicate beauty of its original screenplay written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. With the two young, up and coming stars in the writing chair, and their names not being the celebrity draw they are now, Good Will Hunting was and continues to be the definition of a passion project that paid off.
Over two decades after its original release, this Gus Van Sant directed feature is still celebrated as a staple of modern cinema, with powerful performances and witty, attractive dialogue to match. Still being used by scholars in a study of the Protestant/Catholic tensions in Boston, and the connection with the principle characters being in close proximity with Harvard and MIT, it is still as relevant today as it was back in 1997.
In this Movie List, we at The Film Magazine will be looking at the breath-taking moments that make Good Will Hunting the timeless classic it has become, ranking the 5 Moments in Good Will Hunting That Will Give You Chills.
Let us know which moments gave you chills in the comments at the end of this article, and be sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with more articles like this one.
5. “You owe it to me.”
The first scene in our countdown goes to the moment Chuckie (Ben Affleck) tells Will (Matt Damon) that he needs to take the opportunity of working with the professors at the university instead of carrying on in his labour job.
By this stage we’ve followed Will for long enough to know how much the opportunity would mean, and we have seen Chuckie be there every step of the way as the goofy, playful best friend. This moment tells us everything we need to know about Chuckie as a character – what he expects from his life and how he has come to peace with it – and it acts as the chance Chuckie needs to tell Will how much he means to him, without ever explicitly declaring it.
This film gave Affleck the opportunity to prove himself as an actor in a strong supporting role, and this moment in particular allowed him to express his acting capabilities in a way we hadn’t seen from his multiple teen comedies up until this point in his career.
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4. “Your move chief.”
Robin Williams’ Oscar-winning performance stems from this moment.
When Sean (Williams) finally opens up to Will about what it means to take responsibility for your actions and teaches him that there is much more to life than what you can learn from books, it takes your breath away.
Whilst Williams delivers the powerful monologue, the scene is balanced perfectly by Damon’s silence.
Set in the beautiful surroundings of Boston Public Garden, a landmark to those local to the area, this moment highlights the fact that there is so much more of the world for Will to see, and that this is his opportunity to do it.
The scene ends with Sean leaving Will to make the big decision on his own, reminding him that there is more to life than academia – if he has the chance to be with the woman he loves (after Sean tragically lost his own wife) then he should take it with both hands.