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Drama movie directed by Ron Howard

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Out of the frying pan...

  • Dec 15, 2002
  • by
Beautiful Mind won a swag of Oscars, including best picture, so you'd have to give it the benefit of the doubt. But, an hour in, my patience was sorely tested: a jumbled intro, some sketchy back-story exposition, and the film makes a hard left hand turn and appears to veer into low-rent Bond territory; Ed Harris appearing as a mysterious, over-hammed Chandleresque government dude, shooting up Russian infiltrates, and spouting the most hackneyed dialogue you'll find outside a Bruce Willis disaster flick. As the minutes pass the likelihood of the film pulling itself out of this spectacular swan dive appreciably diminishes, and in fact I had concluded that all hope was lost; this was just a clunker and the Oscar rout a sham, when blow me if it didn't pull out at the very last minute, like some Red Arrow pilot at an air show, with what Leonard Maltin correctly describes as "a doozy" of a plot twist. I won't give it away: just watch.

So, having so deftly leapt out of the frying pan, imagine the disappointment when the real film, struggling to get out from the faux over-lay, turns out to be a routine Sunday Sickness matinee, spiced up at the end by a poorly worked in redemption scene. The closing, teary vibe has Ron Howard written all over it - just like Robin Williams can never escape the fact that he was Mork from Ork, Howard will for ever be Richie Cunningham, and this is every inch a film made by a mummy's boy from suburban Milwaukee. Not nearly enough Fonz in it for me.

Not exactly assisting matters is Horner's music, which offers the same subtle pleasure and impish inventiveness as his score for Titanic. That's sarcasm, folks.

Russell Crowe deserves a mention for portraying a dislikable geek & nutcase so well, never an easy stunt for a Hollywood hunk (Ralph Fiennes made a meal of the same job in Red Dragon), and Jennifer Connelly plays the long suffering spouse nicely. The last film I saw her in was Labyrinth, so she's come on a bit.

Ron Howard pulled a few pretty cool tricks, and ultimately this film is pleasant enough to watch. My only observation is that if this was good enough to win best Picture, it must have been a lousy year.

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More A Beautiful Mind (2002) reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
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This movie was visually stunning with great performances from its cast. It did not receive a 5 from me because there needed more research in the portrayal of Nash's schizophrenic hallucinations.
review by . February 10, 2009
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WARNING: This review contains spoilers!   From acclaimed director Ron Howard (Backdraft and Apollo 13) comes A Beautiful Mind, a sensitive biopic about the life of brilliant mathematician John Nash. The screenplay, which was based on the inspirational book by Sylvia Nasar, was written by Akiva Goldsman and focuses on the Nash's life from his days at college up until his winning of the Nobel Prize in 1994.        A Beautiful Mind should not be viewed as a historically …
review by . March 26, 2007
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Russell Crowe did an incredible job of portraying the real-life story of Princeton Professor John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who won the 1994 Nobel Prize, despite his dysfunction due to schizophrenia. My heart went out to this amazing man for all he suffered; his perseverance tugged at my heart strings; and I was heartened by his wife standing beside him through thick and thin. I'm highly encouraged that Professor Nash managed to kick his dependence on the schizophrenia medicine and go on to …
review by . February 06, 2004
Highly riveting film with a super performance by both Russell Crowe and Ed Harris. Even though the director changed John Nash's life a great deal to make it a more entertaining movie.John Nash, a genius who came up with a business model that was adopted by many businesses, is a social oddball that is so dedicated to his studies that he has absolutely no concept of social skills. He finds it a task to even make the slightest bit of conversation with a female. The only person he seems to get along …
review by . October 26, 2002
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From the perspective of the working mathematician, the good news is that a major feature film blockbuster was made about a mathematician. The bad news is that the major reason it was made was due to his mental illness. John Nash is a mathematician whose work in the theory of games won him a Nobel Prize in economics, and yet he suffers from mental illness that was so severe that he sometimes literally lived in another world.    Mathematically speaking, the producers do as good a job as …
review by . January 28, 2002
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Pros: Russell Crowe, true story (somewhat)     Cons: none!     The Bottom Line: Good solid work by Russel Crowe who stretches his acting credentials from Gladiator!     Plot Details: This opinion reveals no details about the movie's plot. Beautiful mind - the latest from Ron Howard. How can you miss with a film about mental illness and genius all wrapped up into one?      I think most of us would acknowledge that insanity …
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Olly Buxton ()
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A Beautiful Mindmanages to twist enough pathos out of John Nash's incredible life story to redeem an at-times goofy portrayal of schizophrenia. Russell Crowe tackles the role with characteristic fervor, playing the Nobel prize-winning mathematician from his days at Princeton, where he developed a groundbreaking economic theory, to his meteoric rise to the cover ofForbesmagazine and an MIT professorship, and on through to his eventual dismissal due to schizophrenic delusions. Of course, it is the delusions that fascinate director Ron Howard and, predictably, go astray. Nash's other world, populated as it is by a maniacal Department of Defense agent (Ed Harris), an imagined college roommate who seems straight out ofDead Poets Society, and an orphaned girl, is so fluid and scriptlike as to make the viewer wonder if schizophrenia is really as slick as depicted. Crowe's physical intensity drags us along as he works admirably to carry the film on his considerable shoulders. No doubt the story of Nash's amazing will to recover his life without the aid of medication is a worthy one, his eventual triumph heartening. Unfortunately, Howard's flashy style is unable to convey much of it.--Fionn Meade
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Director: Ron Howard
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 21, 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Akiva Goldsman, Sylvia Nasar
Runtime: 135 minutes
Studio: Universal Home Video
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