A very serious film with Matt Damon playing his own age and Robin Williams playing his favorite role, that of a teacher, slightly mental manipulator, getting into the brain and mind of a young chap and getting his wings burnt, though this time not by the death or sacrifice of the young man. But somewhere it is very sad.
Will Hunting, the young man, is, in fact, a delinquent with a lot of misdemeanors but he is a mathematical genius, in fact, an Asperger case who is able to enter any mathematical problem within seconds and solve it. On the other hand, he can read a book something like twenty pages every thirty seconds. He is thus a prison inmate under some kind of probation or suspension that enables him to have a job – for inmates on parole – and have a life. That’s how he ends up being a janitor in one top university in the USA and there he comes across the challenges a medaled and decorated math professor gives to students to be checked and solved with a piece of chalk on a blackboard (that is actually green) in the corridor. And Will Hunting does it twice. The professor takes him under his protection and the judge imposes two conditions. Apart from not getting involved in any misdemeanor, Will Hunting has to follow the math program imposed by the professor and he has to see a shrink.
The second condition makes him finally meet (the sixth professional head shrink) Sean Maguire and the worst possible happens. They cannibalize each other. Will transfers himself into the head shrink or counselor whose wife is dead and who is still in love with her. So he finally gets into the car his friends have given him and drives to California where his rich girlfriend has just moved at the end of her university time. On the other side, Sean transfers himself into the young man who has no set home, no haven he can go to, no attachment whatsoever and he decides to do the same and move to China. Will leaves a note in Sean’s mailbox before leaving and the conclusion is pathetic on the side of the older man: he plainly accuses Will to have stolen his life since he is going after his girlfriend instead of the brilliant prospect he could have in this university, just life Sean missed a historic baseball game just to go meet his girlfriend who will become his wife who is now dead.
Something though seems to be missing in the film. An Asperger chap is not only a reciting machine or an analyzing drone. An Asperger is also a person who has a very strong inner fantasizing life that can even be close to illusionary hallucinations. Will Hunting as for that is very superficial. It is a choice of the director but that makes the character rather frivolous. It is true Asperger cases do not like speaking of themselves but they love telling stories that are all either distantly erudite or purely imaginary. And here we have a young man who is very locked up onto himself and who can only get out by being physically or verbally violent.
Good entertainment though.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
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