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A Beautiful Mind tells the life story of John Nash, a Nobel Prize winner who struggled through most of his adult life with schizophrenia. Directed by Ron Howard, this becomes a tale not only of one man's battle to overcome his own disability, but of the overreaching power of love - a theme that has been shown by many films that I enjoy.
A Beautiful Mind may have been developed to be a crowd-pleaser as well as a tear-jerker, because you know this is a man’s life without falsities. It is blatant and true, that’s all. This film proves that there are still instances when Hollywood-produced, big budget movies are worth a viewer's investment of time and money.
A Beautiful Mind tells the true story of Professor John Nash (Russell Crowe), but, while the gross facts may be accurate, one must expect embellishment of the details. It first shows Nash as a student at Princeton in 1947. He is brilliant but erratic - a mathematical genius who lacks social skills. He is aided in making it through those difficult years by his roommate, Charles. Years later, following an astounding breakthrough that revolutionizes economics, John is teaching at M.I.T. and doing code-breaking work for a shady government agent, William Parcher (Ed Harris). It's at this time that John meets, falls in love with, and marries Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). But his happy world soon starts to crumble.
John is afflicted with paranoid hallucinations; by the time he is taken to a mental hospital under the care of the mysterious Dr. Rosen, he is diagnosed as having an advanced case of schizophrenia.
Russell Crowe won the 2000 Best Actor Oscar for Gladiator, and in this movie, he doesn’t give anything less of a great performance. Crowe successfully buries his personality beneath Nash's, allowing the character to come alive and for the audience to see inside his mind. And, when it comes to the sequences showing Nash battling his demons, Crowe's performance is convincing. At the same time, Jennifer Connelly is wonderful as Alicia. She does well depicting a woman torn by love for and fear of the same man.
The movie tosses mathematical theories and theorems in the audience's direction, but explains them simply and lucidly; so I was never lost or bored. A Beautiful Mind isn't about mathematics except as a symbol. It's about human frailty and the ability to triumph over it.
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