As a retired history teacher, I am VERY hard on historical films. Often, I notice how the story in the film and the real life tale diverge--and family members who see historical films with me are often regaled with how irritated I am that the film stretches or completely ignores the truth. I am insufferable in this regard, as I consider history to be sacred--and I HATE when movies ignore the facts. Heck, when I was teaching, I would often show films like "Pocahontas"--and would use it to explain to the kids how the true story is no longer even recognizable in the film. While "A Beautiful Mind" is not as bad as this Disney film, it also took huge liberties in portraying the life of the famous mathematician, John Nash. And because of this, I was VERY happy to see "A Brilliant Madness"--a documentary that attempts to give the true story of Nash's life.
I wasn't the least bit surprised that this episode of "The American Experience" was exceptional. After all, the show is almost always exceptional--and the folks who make these shows love history and rarely make obvious mistakes in the narrative. Here, they present a MUCH more balanced view of Nash's life. While it is not exactly a 'warts and all' biography (it doesn't mention his sex life and all his odd behaviors), this isn't a bad thing as there really isn't a need to know EVERY intimate detail. But, the major facts are correct--and I am glad to see it. Well worth seeing and ample proof that you don't need to twist the facts in order to tell a compelling tale. And, the best part about this is that Nash himself gets to talk about his life!
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