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Math in the Movies: Good Will Hunting

Winning them the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1998, Good Will Hunting propelled Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to the Hollywood A-list (no doubt Phantoms would have done this for Ben Affleck, had it not been for the success of Good Will Hunting only months earlier). I will not summarize the plot, except to say that in this film, Matt Damon is a math superstar. For those wanting more in the way of plot summary, this trailer may help to refresh your memory: There are a number of films that center around math geniuses, and for the most part they have met with some degree of critical and commercial success. Our purpose here is not to critique these films, but to answer a simple question: In what ways do these films perpetuate stereotypes about mathematics and mathematicians, and in what ways do these films rise above those same stereotypes? . . . → Read More: Math in the Movies: Good Will Hunting