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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001) Rating: 10/10
A Beautiful Mind's greatest achievement, in my humble opinion, is the way it makes schizophrenia accessible to "sane" people. The general public knows schizophrenics tend to talk to themselves, repeat certain actions and do things generally at odds with the norm. But why? It's nearly impossible for a "sane" individual to understand why this happens...and more importantly, what that feels like. Without this essential empathy, many people become frustrated with the mentally ill, asking why patients can't pull themselves together and just bear up. We express this same impatience with the criminally insane who act upon delusions with disastrous results. It is incomprehensible.
A Beautiful Mind does all it can to change that, and it succeeds. Unless you are familiar with John Nash's story, you probably won't guess he's schizophrenic until part-way into the movie. He's eccentric, abrupt, and highly intelligent, but doesn't seem crazy. His delusions are as real as reality to Nash, and likewise, they are real to the audience, who cannot tell the difference between truth and delusion.
Incidentally, I came across a review from a "professional critic" who blasted A Beautiful Mind for including "all that spying stuff that had nothing to do with Nash's work that was thrown in for Hollywood thrill." I feel bad for that chap, since he missed the entire point of the film. But that just proves Ron Howard's genius in creating a picture of insanity indistinguishable from reality.
There are some truly shocking moments in A Beautiful Mind. When Alicia finds her husband's secret cache of newspaper clippings behind their house, I was eerily reminded of Jack Nicholson's wife in The Shining discovering his endless, typewritten pages of the same phrase. The scene that follows, culminating with Nash's realization that his delusions are indeed a false reality is brilliant. In a moment, remembering Marcee, Nash has a flash of insight, and he finally accepts his illness -- ironically, through his intellect. When Nash imagines that someone is going to harm Alicia, he lunges at her -- and only through his eyes do we see how a seemingly senseless act of violence is a gesture of love, filtered through the smog of delusion.
Now my take on the acting: Superb in every sense of the word. Russell Crowe is incredible. I can't stress that enough. There's never any question about the authenticity of his character. Crowe doesn't rely on his elaborate makeup to age Nash -- his walk, words, and voice do that elegantly in the movie's end. Crowe will get at least another Oscar nomination out of this one. And, he better win. Jennifer Connelly is amazing as well. And when Crowe and Connelly are put together, extraordinary chemistry erupts, they just gel together, they really belong with one another. Some people have had problems with the romance part of the movie, saying that the way John and Alicia even started seeing each other wasn't very realistic and why Alicia would stay with John after he becomes distant. But, I think that maybe it started out as just a crush, you know, and the math question she showed him was just her excuse for going to his office and she already knew she was going to ask him out before hand. Maybe she's just attracted to the kind of person Nash is? Who knows? A lot of people are attracted to the "weirdest" things sometimes. The crush took over the fact that he sort of insulted her work and she still asked him anyway. When you're around someone you like so much you can't help but be fooled by them. I can't really explain it, but I can understand why she still asked him to dinner. And I guess if you love someone as much as Alicia loved John, then you would stick with them through anything. Even how distant he became, she still stuck with him.
Moving on, I think Ed Harris is, as always, great. Harris continues to prove that, simply because he's flawless. With delusions like these, no wonder Nash was torn between treatment and "spying."
Simply put, A Beautiful Mind is a film which extends far beyond the 2 hours and 15 minutes that you will spend viewing it in the theater. The characters continued to haunt me after the movie (and still do), thanks to the Oscar-inducing performances by Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and all of the supporting players. They are not merely acting, yet are transformed into the characters, leaving no trace of a line between their part and reality.
Of course a film is only as good as a screenplay would allow, and the story contained within is written in a way that compliments everything that is truly great about A Beautiful Mind. Ron Howard contributes truly inspiring work to this film, and I hope that the critics remember him when awards are being given out.
All I can tell you now is that if you're looking for an emotionally-charged movie that will make you cry, but still filters in some very funny moments as to lighten things up every now and then, with near perfect acting, cinematography, directing, editing and a screenplay which will cause the story of John Nash to inspire you, then consider A Beautiful Mind.
I hope a lot of people see this film. Not just because Russell Crowe is a hunk or because it's a Ron Howard piece, but because you will learn something important. You will learn why compassion is an absolute must when dealing with the mentally ill. You won't glare at the next person you see muttering to themselves. And when someone you love is dealing with a disorder, be it schizophrenia or depression, you won't ask them to "pull themselves together." You will understand why they need your love -- because they are just as confused as you are.
In closing, if Russell Crowe isn't awarded the Best Actor Oscar this year, then my faith in movies and its rewards system will be seriously tarnished.
I went along to the movies not really wanting to see this movie, thinking it
was a 'girly' movie, one which had more technical skill rather than a
storyline. I was surprised more than anything I could imagine.
I have seen a lot of movies in my time, but this movie just took me by storm. Its uniqueness, ironically enough because it was based on a real life situation was a refreshing change from the usual Hollywood blockbuster. This movie provided a brilliant (pardon the pun) insight into many aspects of a genius at work.
This movie touched me on many levels. The psychology of the movie was intriguing, the mathematical philosophies was actually realistic from my own experience, and the icing on the cake making the movie stand out was surprisingly the humanistic side of Love. While love is a common basis in most movies, the interaction of this theme with other aspects of the plot was planned phenomenlly.
As for the cast, I have never noticed the actual difference in skill between many actors/actresses before. I like Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise etc, but I wouldn't be able to pinpoint a classic actor's performance. But Russell Crowe in this film showed me what it was like to act in a way where I was in awe of his skill in playing this character, especially when considering the extreme difference from characters in his other movies such as the Gladiator and The Insider. Russell Crowe was one of the big reasons this movie was so brilliant. Added to that the stellar performances of Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Adam Goldberg, and this made for the 'perfect' movie.
A Beautiful Mind was by far the most original, intelligent and entertaining movie I have ever seen. And this from a movie I didn't expect big things from. Kudos to Ron Howard, the cast and the crew of this movie. It was truly worthy of the Oscar, and Russell Crowe was definately the most deserving of this production team to miss out on the highest accolade. Perhaps politics played a bigger part than I previously would have thought.
I think its a good idea to know as little as possible about this movie
before seeing it. Now that I've seen it, the commercials on television
to be giving away too much. With that in mind DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU
HAVEN'T SEEN IT!
Its a hard movie to pinpoint. Its not like any other movie I've ever seen, in that a character exists that is not real. John Nash's mind is the reality of the movie and its not until the movie is half over that you realize this and its jarring that you've been taken on a ride with this man's illness, and accepted it as the real world. Its also a very heartbreaking thing.
From the middle point, John and you see the world differently because he starts to receive treatment.
Russell Crowe does not overdo it for a minute and turns in his customary brilliant performance. Would not surprise me at all if he were to win his second Best Actor Oscar in March 2002. He really is that good.
Just as good but with less screen time is the beautiful and beautifully talent Jennifer Connelly, who the world may finally get to see in a mainstream movie. Her chemistry with Crowe is vital to the movie and neither of them disappoint the audience at all in that respect.
I enjoyed it immensely and felt like I had seen a movie when it was over. I was shown a person at their best and the worse and everything in between, by a masterful actor at the top of his game.
I am sure Ron Howard deserves a lot of credit that he won't get, too.
"A Beautiful Mind" is an exceptional story, but it is only and exceptional film because of its director. Ron Howard does an amazing job of engaging his audience, introducing a brilliant main character, and making the audience experience the reality of mental illness. This could have been an unbelievable story to which very people could relate; however, the directorial mastery Howard exhibits throughout allows the audience to accompany Nash on his journey and awareness of his illness. Anyone who has been close to the frailties of the human mind will appreciate how respectfully and honestly this film approaches the subject. Howard is able to portray all the complex reactions to mental illness while maintaining the humanity and dignity of the patient. Superbly directed, wonderfully acted by Crowe and cast, this film succeeds on every level.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wasn't actually planning on going to see "A Beautiful Mind" in the first
place, but as it was, I was convinced by the friend that accompanied me
it was truly something to see.
And now, after seeing it, I thank her for that. Instead of spending two
a half hours watching George Clooney and Matt Damon rob casinos or Kevin
Spacey and Julianne Moore dealing with their problems in New Foundland, I
found myself pulled into another kind of story, a powerful, emotional
of how one man learned to battle his own demons and dazzle the
"A Beautiful Mind", based on the novel by Sylvia Nasar, is the story of John Forbes Nash Jr., the genius mathematician, whose life suddenly takes a turn for the worse when he is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. After fierce battles with his inner self, he overcomes this and returns to win the Nobel Prize in 1994 for his brakethrough game theory in economics that he had been working on during his years in Princeton University in the 1950s.
John Nash, portrayed very well by the versatile and brilliant Russell Crowe, is a partly shy, yet ironic and sometimes even arrogant, gifted young student studying in Princeton University in the late 1940s. He dedicates his time to numbers and equations, set on to solving every problem at hand, rather than mingling with co-students on the football field or in the pub.
Nash is later on introduced to Sylvia (played by the lovely Jennifer Connely), a physics student attending his classes. She helps Nash to open up and eventually discover love.
Enter William Parcher (played by Ed Harris), a shadowy and mysterious agent working for the Department of Defense. Parcher, after realizing Nash's ability to see mathematical and geometrical patterns everywhere, approaches Nash with a mission that involves national security.
Now, amidst his work and relationship, Nash is suddenly thrown into a whirlwind of emotions and disbeliefs as he is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. And this is the part where "A Beautiful Mind" truly shines: in portraying the disorder from Nash's own point of view. In a powerful and emotional way, it shows the viewer how difficult an illness like this can be to not only face, but overcome, something that people today may not always realize.
Before seeing this movie, I must admit that I was a bit afraid that casting such a well-known actor as Russell Crowe as the main character would ruin the image of John Nash, forcing the viewer to see Crowe, rather than Nash. This is a common problem when dealing with famous actors, but to my surprise, it didn't much bother me much. And the same goes for Ed Harris.
As a movie, "A Beautiful Mind" is absolutely great (It is so much more, but I cannot find the words to praise it enough, so I will simply go with "great" =). Not only does it have a strong point and an importaint message to the viewer, but it delivers it in a touching and sensitive, partly even humourous kind of way, with the help of powerful actors, a great screenplay and even a few special effects to boost it up. So for anyone whose grown tired of the consant pointless action-movies out there, and instead want to immerse themselves into a character-driven story that might actually bring a tear to your eyes, I sincerily recommend "A Beautiful Mind".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not that common people knew John Forbes Nash jr., a Princeton
mathematician after he recieved Nobel Prize for his "Game Theory". It's
that people started to know him after Sylvia Nasar wrote his biography.
made John Nash a household name is Ron Howard's brilliant direction and
Russell Crowe's excellent performance as the scizophrenic
Russell Crowe exceeds all of his past performances in this film. He did not act as Nash, he became Nash. His facial expression while solving a problem, his innocent and shy smile during romantic sequences and his vacant look during the time of scizophrenia are in a word magnificient, and shockingly original. Jennifer Connelly also put a beautiful performance as his devoted wife Alicia. The actings of these two are the core of success of this film. I am still in a dark why Crowe is denied his Oscar for the best actor.
Ron Howard changed the original story in some places a bit, but only to make it more enjoyable. His main goal was to feature Nash's point of view to his world and he has succeeded totally. The shot in the cafe` where Nash first understands the significance of the application of his theory is brilliantly taken and is the best example of Howard's genious as a filmmaker. The make-up throughout the film is drop-dead gorgeous as they showed Nash and Alicia aging in the course of the film. Thus the Russell Crowe in the beginning and the Russell Crowe in the end become two different entities due to the superb art of the make-up artists.
A Beautiful Mind will be considered one of the best biopics ever. It is dramatic, descriptive, detailed, reflective, enthusiastic, heroic and in all, a beautiful film. 10/10.
A poorly tailored trailer does not begin to describe what
one man's journey from the heaven of clear thought to the
Russell Crowe does an excellent role as John Nash, a mathematician who revolutionizes Group Theory, only to have his mind crash into confused and split views of the world.
Jennifer Connelly is superb as his wife. It is through her that we begin to understand the range of problems and pittfalls Nash is facing, most of his own devising. She deserves an Oscar, period.
The director has arranged beautiful 'red herrings' to kept viewers guessing and it works suprisingly well. Ron Howard's best work to date.
A beautiful movie to decribe a beautiful mind.
The more I watch Russell Crowe, the more I am becoming a big fan of his
acting talent. Here again, he demonstrates his skills in a role that
had me spellbound. Of course, mentally-ill people are usually
fascinating. Look how popular the cable television show "Monk" has
Crowe's character, mathematician John Nash, is not nearly as eccentric as "Monk," but his schizophrenia makes for a fascinating portrait of a very troubled man. This is another of those Ron Howard based-on-a-true-story films, so don't take everything here as gospel truth....because it ain't so. (One example: in real life, Nash's wife was anything but as supportive as Jennifer Connelly was portrayed here.)
The first time I saw this film I was disappointed. Maybe I expected more, maybe I felt the story was unfair to the viewer and I felt like this was just one more attempt at Liberal Hollywood to make fun of those in the 1950s who were opposed to Communism. Well, on the second viewing, just a few weeks ago, I didn't have a problem with any of those things, just enjoying the performances and the classy-looking cinematography, thanks to one of the best cameramen in the business, Roger Deakins. I'm not always a fan of director Ron Howard, but his films are usually interesting and pleasing to the eye. He and Crowe seem to be a good pair, too, as witnessed by 2005's "Cinderella Man."
For those who enjoy a cerebral thriller, this is a very intriguing film. Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas and Anthony Rapp all deliver solid supporting help and, if you haven't seen this, this story will deliver a big surprise. If you know the ending, a second viewing is even more interesting as you trace Nash's actions from the beginning.
A Beautiful Mind
Director Ron Howard has experience in playing with his audience's heartstrings. Remember in Apollo 13, when the fate of the astronauts was uncertain? (Ok, so if you remember your recent history, you knew.... but still!) Or remember in Parenthood, when Steve Martin's kid was about to make the crucial catch? Ol Opie can still pluck those strings with the best of them. (And you know, he'll never stop being called Opie, even by those of us who never saw The Andy Griffith Show during its initial run.) And plucking heartstrings is not a bad thing at all, not when you can do it in such a sincere, noncloying way as the masterful Beautiful Mind presents to its viewers.
John Nash is a mathematics prodigy who has a decided knack at solving previously unsolvable problems. He's socially dysfunctional, rarely looking anyone in the eye, but pours all of his energy - and soul - into producing one original idea, an idea that will distinguish him from all of the other mathemathical minds at Princeton University.
But John, like most who have had movies made about them, had his ups and downs. He meets and falls for a beautiful student of his named Alicia (Jennifer Connelly), and they produce a baby. But John also suffers from tremendous delusions and is diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia's a tough disease, folks - it's still not fully understood, and Nash was diagnosed with it in the middle of last century. He spends time in a sanitarium, as doctors struggle to find a cure.
Russell Crowe is absolutely powerful as the confused and confusing Nash. Although the marquee says "Russell Crowe", you'll immediately forget this is the hunky guy from Gladiator. I mean after all, he's playing some nerdy scientist dude! But Crowe completely disappears in the role, and he's unforgettable. Actors kill for roles like this one, because it gives them a chance to show off their acting chops. For many actors, this is the kiss of death, because then they're exposed as poor thespians. But not for Crowe; if anything, this proves once and for all that he's a grand master of acting. I realize that sounds like overkill for him, but I think that when actors are labeled as a "hunk" - their skills as actors aren't seen as very substantial. Hey, looking darn good worked against Tom Selleck, and to a degree it has worked against Crowe as well.
And he ages well, too. The movie takes place over a fairly extended period of time, ending with Nash's acceptance of the Nobel Prize in 1994. The makeup on Nash is neither garish nor schmaltzy; he looks completely genuine. And that's the essence of Crowe's performance. It's sincere, never trying to win over the audience with a sly wink here or a toss of the hair there. Crowe shows remarkable poise, elegance, and is utterly astounding in the role.
His supporting cast is more than able. Jennifer Connelly is better than I thought she would be; in most roles, she's the eye candy. But this role had meat to it, and she held her own. It wasn't an easy role to play, and she pulled it off. And her scenes with Crowe do have that movie magic that each of us looks for when we go to movies, that one moment, that compatible chemistry that leaves audiences mesmerized.
And yes, this does have some very, very touching moments. The final scene, while predictable (even if you don't know the outcome in real life), will bring more than one tear to the eye. Yes, I'll admit it, it got me right here. But it's okay; I did that old 'guy-crying-in-movie-theater' trick. If you feel the brime falling from the lid, you make a motion toward your cheek and then you scratch vigorously; people might think you have a skin infection and move away slowly, but at least they won't think you're a girly man.
At any rate, it's certainly one of the best movies of the year. Everything's in place: the direction, the photography, and especially the acting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Schizophrenia, a disease of the brain, is one of the most disabling and
emotionally devastating illnesses known to man... It is characterized
by a constellation of distinctive and predictable symptoms... These
include thought disorder, delusions, and hallucinations...
The film recounts the story of John Forbes Nash Jr., a Princeton brilliant mind, who rides up to the heights of mathematical prowess, down through mental breakdown, and finally up to regain the equilibrium...
Russell Crowe ventures on a journey of fear, humiliation and vulnerability, giving a real and moving portrait of a troubled man whose gifts were his downfall...
We see him impolite and rude, too smart to have to attend class, lacking social skills, insulting the great ideas of his colleagues, calling their work derivative, and declaring, "To find a truly original idea is the only way to distinguish myself."
Nash is obsessed with patterns... He spends his days writing perplexing formulas on his dormitory window in search of a breakthrough idea... He gets it one night, while out with his fellow scholars at a local bar where a stunning blond grabs their attention... He recreates the design of a classmate's tie reflecting light through glass... He follows the movements of pigeons as they compete for food... He stares obsessively at too many numbers, and reveals his natural ability helping the Pentagon crack the mathematical codes the Soviets are using...
He becomes friend with his roommate, Charles Herman, who is everything he is not charming and charismatic... He somewhat refines his social manners enough to win the love of a beautiful physics student who would become his wife...
Then he begins to look for secret messages in newspapers and magazines, interpreting vague, undecipherable connections between letters and numbers...
His mental derangement grows to uncontrolled proportions and the lines between reality and delusion begin to occur as his hallucinations take control of his life in every instant... Nash soon begins to understand the nature of his mental illness and, while he is never cured of his hallucinations behavior, eventually keeps struggling to overcome it...
Crowe imparts every facet of John Nash's personality with clarity and feeling... He wins our sympathy merely by showing us a man climbing to the top, falling to the very bottom, and through love and determination fully, recapturing his potential once again...
Jennifer Connelly begins to establish herself as a young actress to watch for... She exudes class and sophistication... She makes a marvelous loving wife forced to face the realities of schizophrenia... She tries to do what's best for her husband, but in the face of adversity to take the decision she does, it is inspiring to think that love is the seed of all hope, and what makes the ride worthwhile...
Paul Bettany gives another charming turn as Nash's only true friend... He is able to extend any sympathy or understanding, frequently pushing Nash to leave his inquiries for a pizza and beer break...
Ed Harris looks nicely menacing in his black fedora... You never know if the man is real, a delusion or both as he constantly drives Nash to the verge of insanity and beyond...
Adam Goldberg makes a quiet impression as a Princeton alumnus...
Ron Howard evokes the beauty of Nash's mind, and brings us with tenderness, the story of a tortured-genius... His choice to shoot much of the film from Nash's point-of-view is both effective and intriguing...
The film peacefully highlights the value of a very clever man who gains a beautiful heart, mainly through the love, faith and strength of his lovely wife...
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