A Beautiful Mind – Movie Review


“A Beautiful Mind”, directed by Ron Howard and released in 2001 amazed crowds worldwide with the intricate story that sparked suspense, intrigue and a highly entertaining feature film. The story follows a mathematician by the name of Jonathan Nash, who in his rite is a certified genius.

The narrative follows Nash on the grounds of Princeton where he and his intellectual  are on the conquest of achieving greatness within their field of study as well as finding suitable partners with whom to procreate.

This aspect of the storyline establishes the baseline for the character by introducing people to the scene and setting. It interactions, cold to other people and straightforward with his manner of speech, in a way, painted him as an “anti-hero.” One of those people who you love to hate. However, seeing that Russell Crowe played the part, people could look past the character flaws of Jonathan Nash.

However, a movie simply about mathematicians on Princeton would hardly spark such a unified appraisal for the film. Thus comes the twist that sets the pace for the rest of the story arc.

You must understand that the movie takes place during the 1950s. Right after World War II, tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States escalated. Additionally, this was right in the middle of McCarthyism where people accused of being communists and labeled as traitors to the US.

Within this environment, a mysterious man approaches Nash by the name of Parcher. Parcher was an agent from the Department of Defense looking for a genius to help him solve cryptic messages embedded within newspapers and magazines by the Soviets.

This part in the Movie triggered the overall decline of the mental clarity of the main character as his obsessive nature would betray him in the end. While all of the “code cracking” was going on, a side plot was being developed involving the lover of Nash.

Alicia Nash, who was played by Jennifer Connelly, provided the human element to our main hero. She endured all of the hardships that would unfold throughout the rest of the storyline. In fact, if it weren’t for this relationship with Nash, people would feel less empathetic towards the end of the movie about the trials the character had to endure. It was her warmth and dedication and vigor that allowed people to connect to the nature of Nash on a personal level and is significantly responsible for the appeal from the public.

Eventually, the stress of the code cracking got to Nash, and he started having a mental breakdown. It only culminated when a psychiatrist took him in and institutionalized him. Eventually diagnosing Nash with Schizophrenia.

And this is where the mystery begins. Is the entire code cracking gig real or merely a fabrication of the main character’s insanity? The rest of the movie plays on this concept, confusing people in knowing what “real” is and what is merely a symptom of the diagnosis.

In fact, even in at the conclusion of the feature film, audiences are still left guessing as to what was real and what wasn’t. It is partly the reason why the film got so much buzz because it kept the audience imagine a possible end. All good movies share this quality; leaving one thread unanswered prompting intrigue from the viewer well beyond the conclusion of the tale.

A Beautiful Mind managed to perfectly balance character development, suspense, action, intrigue and mystery into a story that managed to reach a wide audience internationally. In fact, this was one year after Russell Crowe was Maximus the Gladiator, and his acting managed to create a new depth to his persona. People were able to look past the muscles and look into the heart of the actor, to see new depths within his capacity.

A Beautiful Mind should be considered a masterpiece in its rite. It’s one of the few feature films that could make a concept like “Math”… interesting for the viewer. The dialogue and character development are also spot on, allowing you to truly get lost in the story and engage on a deep emotional level.

The film beautifully delivered and captured the insanity of an era that plagued by fear, paranoia, and whispers of war. It showed us how fragile minds could be affected by the societal constructs occurring at the time and allowed us to peek inside the perceptive universe of a Schizophrenic.  It is up to the individual to decide whether Jonathan Nash was a genius plagued with a mental illness or whether everything within the storyline occurred. It’s this last piece of thread that allows us to shape the narrative towards our desire – and this is precisely why a Beautiful Mind is one fantastic film.  

About author: This review is written by Tom Hudson, an academic writer and blogger.  He has been writing original essays and movie reviews for www.customwritings.com since 2008.


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