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A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001)
An inspiring story of math prodigy, Princeton Professor John Forbes Nash Jr., a man gifted with a brilliant mind which also was afflicted with schizophrenia, a condition that causes complications in his marriage, work, and outlook on life. He struggles to conquer his phantom delusions, find useful ways to be helpful, keep his marriage together and continue in his work which leads to a Nobel Prize.
The cast includes: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany, Judd Hirsch, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Jason Gray-Stanford, Austin Pendleton, Vivien Cardone, Victor Steinbach, and Tanya Clarke.
Screenplay by: Akiva Goldsman, based on the book by Sylvia Nasar.
Won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay based on another source, and nominations for Best Actor and musical score.
Directed by Ron Howard.
Promotional Line: "He Saw The World In A Way No One Could Have Imagined."
The story begins with graduate student, John Nash (Russell Crowe) settling into Princeton, who is socially awkward, but a brilliant mathematician, with unique ways to interact with his world. The storyline in the beginning gives the audience the impression that John sees patterns, order and arrangements in nature and in human behavior that inspire mathematical theories which transform into equations scribbled on window panes, which develop into brilliant new equation sets that support novel principles that can be applied to such areas as economics.
One such novel new principle elevates John Nash to a coveted award and he is well on his way to notoriety at Princeton and eventually teaches classes at Princeton and is asked to help on a secret government project in the area of. cryptography. Around this time, John marries the love of his life, Alicia Larde (Jennifer Connelly), a former student in one of his math classes he taught at Princeton.
Also, as the storyline progresses, the audience is slowly introduced to John's companions, in between other events. These companions are unseen to people around John, though it isn't made clear to the audience that these companions are not real people; just signs of his emerging illness, schizophrenia.
The first phantom appears when John is new to Princeton, a Charles Herman (Paul Bettany) who claims to be John's new roommate. He is a source of comfort, encouragement and friendship. A few years later, Charles' phantom niece, a child around 7 years old joins the unseen companions, haunting John.
Another more sinister companion aggressively enters his life, a William Parcher (Ed Harris) and is a more destructive form of John's illness. Strong delusions accompany William Parcher and this all starts to cause havoc in John's once peaceful existence. John's odder and odder behavior and paranoia grows to such a level that he falls apart and winds up in the mental hospital, under the care of Dr. Rosen (Christopher Plummer).
After weeks of electric shock and medication. John goes home to his still loyal, but unhappy wife and infant son. Because of his medication, John discovers that he can't be in a satisfactory relationship with his wife, and that he can't continue in his work, so he stops taking his pills. Unfortunately, William Parcher comes back with a fury, nearly causing John's wife to be hurt. However, it is after a near tragic event involving John's infant, son, that Dr. Rosen makes a house call and suggests more treatment is needed in the hospital. Afraid that he won't come out of the hospital again, John refuses, and convinces his wife that he will come up with his own solution, as that is his expertise, solving insolvable problems.
This is the beginning of Nash's conscious struggle with his illness, determined to learn to live with it and carry on with his life, with the help of his wife, his real friends and better medication. Taking one day at a time, supported by his wife, John never gives up, despite his setbacks.
After asking permission from the Dean of Princeton, Martin Hansen (Josh Lucas), once a competitor in graduate school, John starts to walk to Princeton every day, and hang out in the library, drawing his equations and formulas on the windows, and occasionally the blackboard. Bolstered with new and improved medications, he continued to learn to develop strategies to keep his phantoms at bay, meet students and people, struggling through unpleasant instances of embarrassment and ridicule and relishing in his successes with successful contacts with human beings. Because of his progress throughout the years, he fully appreciates his success, leading to a most uplifting ending.
A BEAUTIFUL MIND is a classic tale of struggle, suffering, enduring, persevering and finally of victory over personal demons, brilliantly directed by Ron Howard, and brilliantly adapted from Sylvia Nasar's novel by Akiva Goldsman, showcasing the considerable talents of a fantastic cast.
Ron Howard has proven to be a talented director of comedies (SPLASH, NIGHT SHIFT), dramas (PARENTHOOD, RANSOM) and adventure films (APOLLO 13, BACKDRAFT). This is his first Oscar for directing, and he also shares an Oscar with Brian Grazer for the BEST PICTURE Oscar. Howard's direction of A BEAUTIFUL MIND is his most mature effort yet. He mixes "tension and suspense with human emotion to a masterful degree." It is quite a feat to direct the leading Actor and Actress to performances meriting Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, which is a sign of an insightful director.
Akiva Goldsman does a wonderful job adapting Sylvia Nasar's novel, Goldsman not only earned his well-deserved Oscar, but also several other awards from various organizations as well, which should give him not only encouragement, but opportunities to excel further in his writing projects.
Russell Crowe gives a marvelous portrayal of John Nash over a span of 50 years, bringing the character to life, convincing the audience of his character's personal growth and evolving sense of self, as he learns to live with his illness and love those around him. Crowe really deserved to win the Best Actor Oscar, though he did win a Golden Globe for his performance.
Jennifer Connelly's convincing portrayal of John Nash's long suffering, loving wife, Alicia Larde earned her the Best Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe. She brings to the film all the mixed emotions and struggles that her character perseveres through, as she takes her marriage vow to stand by her husband in sickness and health very seriously indeed.
Ed Harris gives a solid, chilling portrayal of the menacing William Parcher, the character that causes the most havoc in John's life. Known for his strong, inspiring supporting actor performances, he has received 3 Oscar nominations for other roles and one Best Actor nomination for his role in POLLOCK.
The beautiful musical score was composed by the talented, prolific composer / conductor James Horner, who has over 75 films under his belt. Besides earning a nomination for his musical score in A BEAUTIFUL MIND, he also was nominated for the scores of ALIENS, FIELD OF DREAMS, APOLLO 13 and BRAVEHEART. He won an Oscar for his musical score for TITANIC.
Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, sexual content (verbal innuendo) and a scene of violence.