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 possible of explaining the significance of Nash's work. Using the model of lecherous graduate students cooperating in an attempt to woo the sexual favors of a beautiful woman made for a very funny scene. Some of the scenes are very intense, and there are times when you really do not know what is portraying accurate events and what is simply due to the actions of Nash's mind. Russell Crowe is superb as John Nash, he plays all scenes very well, especially those where he is acting out the fantasies. As is always the case, the producers use a great deal of poetic license in portraying the actual events of Nash's life. Nevertheless, there are some scenes that are very accurate and that math professors can relate to. The later scenes of him in a classroom and when his colleagues pay tribute to him are very touching and do accurately portray the life of a professor. I feel that all mathematicians should watch this film. Not for the mathematics or the history, but for the realization that the public will appreciate a good story, even if it involves a schizophrenic mathematical genius.
Charles Ashbacher, co-editor, Journal of Recreational Mathematics
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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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