Oscars Challenge #45: A Beautiful Mind (2001) Movie Review
For the second straight year, a film with Russel Crowe in it won Best Picture in the Academy Awards. In 2000, Gladiator and the year after, A Beautiful Mind won. Both have totally different plots and characters. The only similarity I can compare between the two movies is that they are both okay.
This time we dwell on the story of one of the greatest mathematicians in the 21st century, John Nash.
Of course, his story about his battles with his mental illness is the one that popularized the film and the book it was adapted from.
The movie begins with our main character, John Nash, arriving at Princeton University with Martin Hansen, a fellow co-recipient of a Scholarship Award for mathematics. He meets a couple of graduate students and his roommate Charles Herman.
His goal as a student is to develop and publish an original idea. He once tested it when he and his classmates discussed how to approach a group of women at the bar. He formulates that if they come to them cooperatively, they have a higher chance of dating them. He published this theory and earned an appointment with MIT.
A few years later, Nash is invited to the Pentagon to help them decipher an encrypted communications message. He gets bored as a professor and gets recruited by a very mysterious person, Willam Parcher, of the United States Department of Defense. He is tasked to look for patterns in magazines to prevent the plot from the Soviets. Because of his seemingly dangerous work, Nash becomes more vigilant and delivers his results in a secret mailbox.
Nash falls in love with one of his students, Alicia. He returns to Princeton for a visit and discovers his former roommate, Charles, and his niece. He encourages Nash to marry Alicia. While delivering one of his results in a secret mailbox, he narrowly escapes a shootout between Parcher and the Soviets. He discovers that Alicia is pregnant. During one of his talks at Princeton University, he was approached by a group of people whom he thought were the Soviets and sedated him. Those people work under Dr. Rosen, a psychiatrist who delivers Nash to a psychiatric facility.
Nash was soon diagnosed with schizophrenia. He conjures images like Charles, his niece, and Parcher. Alicia also tells him there is no William Parcher in the Defense Department. Nash was soon released but needed medication to prevent his schizophrenic attacks. However, he stopped his medication due to its side effects and started seeing Charles and Parcher again.
Alicia discovers that Nash has relapsed again. She calls Dr. Rosen, but she and their infant baby get knocked down by Nash, who is fighting Parcher in his mind. She tries to escape, but he stops her saying that he knows he imagines things because Charles' niece hasn't aged. He agrees to continue his medication, and Alicia supports him.
Nash returns to Princeton and meets his former rival, Hansen, the current head of the Mathematics department. He allows Nash to work in the library. For a couple of years, he learns to ignore his hallucinations; by 1970, he is allowed to teach again.
The movie ends when Nash is awarded a Nobel Prize, which he dedicated to his wife, Alicia. As he leaves the auditorium where he received the award, he sees the hallucinations again but chooses to ignore them.
I honestly like the movie. If you have not heard or read the story of John Nash, you will be amazed by how the plot is structured. It starts with a manageable beginning. We think of him as a typical graduate student with goals and ambitions. We meet his friends, who make him stand out because he has big ideas he wants to accomplish. But we soon realize that almost everything is just a fabrication of his mind.
I like those eerie scenes when John Nash realizes he imagines things and the people he talks to when he realizes that his roommate is just a fabrication of his imagination and everything is fake.
I have read a little about the person's story and find him incredible. His dedication to his work in mathematics and his wife becoming an advocate for mental health are truly astounding. I think a film about him should be made.
John Nash is played by the talented actor Russell Crowe while Jennifer Connelly plays his wife, Alicia. I like how they portrayed both characters, but I found Russell Crowe incredible. For Jennifer Connelly, not so much. Ed Harris and Paul Bettany played the characters in Nash's imagination.
However, I find the pacing of the story prolonged. I honestly don't think the story's plot can extend up to two hours. There are also some scenes that I feel are unnecessary, and some may have been interjected to extend the runtime. I like my movies straightforwardly.
Despite its flaws, this is still a must-watch if you are into biography films and want to learn more about history. And if you want a drama with a definite tear-jerker, you should not miss this one. It may not be as grand as Russel Crowe's Gladiator, but he is still incredible in this one. It might not age like wine more than other films that have won Best Picture. I still think that this should be respected.
A movie that deserves a 3 out of 5 stars rating.