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It is entertaining throughout. And yes it made me shed tears. Twice! The scenes are peppered with short speeches that are so natural and realistic that you will be tempted to think that it must have been easy to write this stuff. No wisecracking James Bond here, folks. Meaningfull and realistic dialogue. The writers took a chance that there is an audience out there for a well crafted and moving story. This is a story. Did you get that? I said, "a STORY!". I'm not talking about a plot that unfolds like three acts all tied up into a neat little package, like butter on your popcorn. This isn't just devices and tricks. It is a story! You will remember the dialogue because you have heard it before. In real life. People actually talk this way regardless of the Bostonian accents. And where did they get this mathematical information. I don't know, it's either made up or well researched.
It doesn't get any better than this, folks. If you have a heart, it will be cracked when you listen to what these characters have to say to each other. Yeah, you will care. Check it out. You'll actually give a damn, Scarlett.
The major strength of the script is the finely-crafted monologues that Damon and Affleck give their characters: i.e. Shawn's speech to Will in Boston park is simply beautifal. Then there's Will's speech to the NSA agents which combines humour and observation in one neat little package.
The actor's performances stem from the sheer amount of subtext handed to them by Damon and Affleck in their script. Primarily, Will's path goes from frightened loud-mouth to assured and confident young man through his counseling sessions with Sean. These scenes are a joy to read as Will and Sean draw closer together by burying to the root of Will's struggle and for Sean to overcome past tragedies. Robin Williams at first seems like an odd choice for the role of Sean, but, for anyone who's seen DEAD POET'S SOCIETY will understand, approaches his role with vigour, inflecting Sean with wisdom, quiet solidarity and subtly conveys Sean's pain and anguish from a life of struggle.
Also, Affleck gets a great speech near the end of the story when Chuckie tells Will to accept his gift and to follow his heart and to stop denying himself in the eyes of others, because he has something that not many people have.
The script is also laced with some wonderful photographs from the film, which chart the progress of the story in pictures, and also includes a superb introduction from the film's director Gus Van Sant. The story is warm, deeply emotional and human, containing brilliant flashes of wit, pathos, observation and self-doubt, and I have no doubt that from this, Damon and Affleck will continue to rise and rise. Good Will Hunting reminds us that movies don't have to be about exploding asteroids, sinking ships or gratuitous car chases, they can be about the explorarion of the human condition, where the guay gets the girl and has all the answers.
Ah, the words. That's what makes this script so original. If Will, Chuckie, Sean and the rest of the clan were not so eloquent, this would just be another run of the mill buddy/romance/coming-of-age flick that just happens to star Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Robin Williams. Most people remember at least one of the wonderfully written monologues from this film, such as Will's interview with NSA or Chuckie's speech to Will about using his gift. However, the normal every day-to-day speech between the characters is written just as poetically.
Words are powerful, something we seem to forget in our modern American society. If nothing else, this screenplay is worth looking at just to refresh one's memory of how moving words can be.
A great screenplay to companion a great movie.
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