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Drama movie directed by Ron Howard

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Experience the wonders of the Human Mind.

  • Dec 5, 2001
  • by
Rating:
+5
Pros: Great acting by Crowe and a good story.

Cons: None

The Bottom Line: A solid and well made film with a fantastic performance by Crowe.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Following the end of World War II the world was gripped in a fear that lasted into the 1990s. that was known as the “Cold War” and resulted as mass panic that was spread by the media regarding the threat of Communism. Entire communities of sane and rational people began to see Communist agents lurking everywhere and even went so far as to blame innocent people of being in league or sympathetic to Communist ideologies.
While a time of deep fears, it was also a time of great secrets that were conceived and created by some of the greatest minds of our times. In some cases, people were asked to live secret lives and keep the nature of their work hidden from everyone, including their spouses. It was the work of great minds in secret that brought on the end of World War II by the creation of the atomic bomb, and the threat of Communism drove the government to new heights of security.
In “A Beautiful Mind” viewers are taken to 1947 and introduced to a young man named John Nash (Russell Crowe) who attended Princeton University on a scholarship. A brilliant man, who lacked social skills and the discipline to attend class, Nash nevertheless continued to seek for his original idea that would set him apart from his peers.
Despite being ridiculed by his peers for his lack of charm and social skills, Nash made a few friends amongst his peer group and set about to disprove an economic theory that had stood as the basis for all economics for 150 years. John’s hard work pays off as he proves his theory and shows the flaws and new solutions for the old beliefs. The discovery is hailed by his teachers and peers as a brilliant discovery and soon lands Nash a coveted position at a top defense laboratory. It is while working at the lab that John receives a mysterious visitor who asks him to help break a complex Russian code. John is able to solve the code in no time at all, and is soon working for the Defense Department undercover as a code breaker. The uncanny skill that John displays attracts the attention of Johnathan Parchar (Ed Harris), a secret operative who oversees John and his assignments. It seems that that Johns lack family and friends is a desirable trait, as he has nothing to distract him from his work nor compromise national security.
John seems very content in his work and all is fine in his life. While teaching a class, John meets a beautiful young lady named Alicia (Jennifer Connelly), and the two soon fall in love and marry. Just when things should be perfect in John’s life, his secret life starts to interfere on his normal life, and drives John to the edge of sanity.
The brilliant John Nash who is capable of solving the most difficult and complex equations known to man, and is now having to come to grips with what his life has become as the lines between reality and fantasy start to blur, and the clarity and order of his equations becomes unraveled as does his life.
The film is directed by Ron Howard from a script by Akiva Goldsman and is based on the real life story of John Nash that was chronicled in the book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar. Howard’s directing is strong and he paces the film brilliantly. The life of Nash is gripping, and Howard allows the audience to develop a bond between the characters at a steady pace and shows their strengths as well as their flaws. The real story of the film is Crowe who gives a brilliant performance as Nash. He is gripping, and able to transform himself into his character so completely that he becomes Nash and viewers will forget that he is playing a role. Crowe deserves to get an Academy Award nomination for his performance, which is superior to his Oscar winning role in “Gladiator”
The film shows the triumph and tragedy of life, as well as the beauty of the human spirit to overcome and survive. An effective and very good film and the supporting roles portrayed by Harris and Connelly are strong and compelling, as they support but never overpower the brilliant performance of Crowe in this Oscar worthy film.

5 stars out of 5
Gareth Von Kallenbach
gareth@nwlink.com


Recommended:
Yes

Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More A Beautiful Mind (2002) reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
DVD
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 . May 08, 2009
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 . March 26, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
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 . December 15, 2002
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 …
review by . October 26, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
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 . June 11, 2002
My high rating is based on the superior quality of acting, of course, but also on what I (a layman) view as an exceptionally effective dramatic visual presentation of schizophrenic paranoia. Characters which interact with Nash throughout the film accomplish for me what an expert's clinical (albeit patient) explanation never could. Given the number of people afflicted with this disease, especially those among them not as yet correctly diagnosed, much less properly treated, this film will serve commendable …
review by . January 28, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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Wiki

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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Details

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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