Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind, 2001
Directed by Ron Howard
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 4
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress

A Beautiful Mind is the story of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician, and also a man with schizophrenia. We start with John at Princeton, a co-recipient of the Carnegie Scholarship. John knows he's brilliant but is intimidated by his peers, whom have already published ground-breaking papers and have contributed very much to math, economics, etc. John is definitely different than everyone at school, which everyone seems to know, especially his classmates (not that John goes to class). But John is obsessed with having his "brilliant idea" and becoming published. With the help of his roommate Charles, John works hard, skips class, and eventually comes up with his brilliant idea one night at the bar when a group of classmates see a group of pretty girls and a standout blonde, and says "every man for himself". John responds it would be better if they had a cooperative approach so that they don't all go for the same girl and all end up alone at the end of the night. This is his brilliant idea! With this John becomes published and is offered an appointment at MIT, bringing along 2 classmates with him. From there, after a visit to the Pentagon to crack a code (which he does mentally), a mysterious man from the US Department of Defence recruits him to break more codes and to uncover a bomb plot. Meanwhile, John is asked out by one of his students at MIT, to which he says yes and falls in love and eventually marries her.

This seems like a great success story. Going into this I knew very little about the movie, only knowing it was about math and the man in it had schizophrenia. How bad his schizophrenia was, I did not guess. And this is where the story takes a huge twist that I truly did not see coming. John becomes obsessed with cracking codes for the Department of Defence, and is close to cracking the codes, is involved in a car chase where himself and William Parcher, the mysterious man who recruited him. But when he goes to give a speech at Princeton, he see's the same black coated men he's been seeing for weeks, paranoid they are Russians who are coming for him to kill him. But he is taken to a hopsital for mentally ill, is told what he has. We also discover William Parcher, Charles his best friend from Princeton, and the bomb plot are not real. Everything we believed in the first half of the movie only happened in John's head.

This movie had a great twist (is it a twist if it's a true story?) Nevertheless, I knew something had to be going on, something was wrong, but on that big of a level I didn't expect.

Additionally, I'm a Russell Crowe fan and had been disappointed that he did not win for this role. He won the year before for Gladiator, so I understand why he didn't. However, I feel this was probably some of Crowe's best work. It's very different from other roles I've seen him in, and he played the muddled yet brilliant yet self conscious and eventually angry and confused John Nash excellently. Crowe was able to convery so many things throughout this movie. He was sincere yet he had problems. You could see how hard John wanted to be better, was trying, but also succumbed a lot.

While this doesn't show mental health in the best way, nor is the story about John Nash 100% true in this film, it still made an enjoyable movie.

Acting- 9/10 
Directing- 8/10 
Screenplay- 7.5/10 
Visuals- 7/10 

Music- 7.5/10 Emotional Connection- 7.5/10 
Entertainment- 8/10 
Rewatchability- 7.5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10 

Overall Package- 7.5/10     

Total: 77.5

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