Seldom do movies contain enough power to influence or change our convictions. Through enormously convincing performances, a masterful screenplay, and aggressive direction, this movie takes us on an extraordinary journey into the mind of a fascinating character, providing insight on its unique subject. Move over Good Will Hunting, here comes the ultimate movie about a math wiz!
Based on a true story of a mathematical genius, A Beautiful Mind introduces us to a very complex individual in the form of John Forbes Nash (Russell Crowe), who began as an unconventional student at a prestigious college. Nash made an astonishing discovery early in his life and found himself on the brink of international acclaim, then married the love of his life (Jennifer Connelly), and later was diagnosed with a severe case of schizophrenia.
It's a memorable expedition from sanity to insanity and back again. A Beautiful Mind is a warm, determined, and encouraging holiday treat from director Ron Howard, who completely earns forgiveness for some of his past misfires and expands into new, innovative ground. It's one of the best movies of the year, and one of Howard's most effective film achievements.
Russell Crowe's Academy Award-worthy portrayal of Nash depicts the character's external existence, but Ron Howard examines his internal character with an even greater edge. Howard, directing a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, defines the character through vivid examples instead of plodding narrative. In one scene, Nash mingles with acquaintances at a bar. A group of flirtatious young ladies walk in. Instead of cracking obscene jokes with his friends, or approaching the women with bad pickup lines, Nash calculates and articulate mathematical techniques on how to address the women and earn their affections. (I'll have to try this sometime.)
When he examines articles or numerical problems, the solutions visually jump out of the paper. We get a feel for his thought processes thanks to Howard's dazzling direction. The camera circles John's head, creating a sensation of ideas whirling around in his mind.
And this is the closest I'll ever get to understanding solutions to complicated math problems. But A Beautiful Mind isn't really about math. It's about the genius of John Nash, and the complexity of his brain as he struggles with himself.
I always thought math could drive a man crazy. This story proves my theory correct.
The Beautiful Mind DVD is loaded with extras -- two discs worth, in fact -- and the highlight is Ron Howard's feature commentary along with his comments about about 20 minutes worth of interesting deleted scenes. Even if you don't think the film is worthy of being named the best picture of 2001, you'll probably find a new respect for the movie somewhere in this disc set. (That said, footage of Nash's real-world Nobel Prize acceptance is not going to do it.)
The writing's on the window.
Run time: 135 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th January 2002
Box Office USA: $170.7M
Box Office Worldwide: $313.5M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Imagine Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 154 Rotten: 50
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: Ron Howard
Screenwriter: Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Russell Crowe as John Nash, Ed Harris as William Parcher, Jennifer Connelly as Alicia Nash, Christopher Plummer as Dr. Rosen, Paul Bettany as Charles, Adam Goldberg as Sol, Josh Lucas as Hansen, Anthony Rapp as Bender, Jason Gray-Stanford as Ainsley, Judd Hirsch as Helinger, Austin Pendleton as Thomas King, Vivien Cardone as Marcee, Jillie Simon as Bar Co-Ed, Victor Steinbach as Prof. Horner, Tanya Clarke as Becky, Thomas F. Walsh as Captain, Jesse Doran as General, Kent Cassella as Analyst, Patrick Blindauer as MIT Student, John Blaylock as Photographer, Roy Thinnes as Governor, Anthony Easton as Young Man, Cheryl Howard as Harvard Administrator, Josh Pais as Princeton Professor, David B. Allen as John Nash Teenager, Michael Esper as John Nash Young Man, Erik Van Wyck as Princeton Student
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