Release Date: 4 January 2002 (USA)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany
Running Time: 2h 15min
A mathematician. A genius. A Beautiful Mind. As a brand new student at Princeton University, John Nash is outraged to find that he has been given a double room with a roommate, Charles, rather than a single room. But soon, they become best friends and Charles becomes a shoulder to lean on during his struggle to find a truly new and original idea for his thesis paper.
After completing his years at Princeton, Nash is offered a job at MIT. Several years later, he is approached by The Pentagon and William Parcher to join their code-breaking team. For this, John Nash must break the codes and patterns within Soviet newspapers and magazines to track their next move. However, Nash becomes increasingly obsessive over his new role, and begins finding hidden meanings within everything he finds.
During his code-breaking, one of Nash’s students, Alicia, asks him to dinner and the pair soon fall in love. On a return visit to Princeton, Nash bumps into Charles and his niece, Marcee who encourages Nash to propose to Alicia.
Soon after they marry, Nash witnesses a shootout between Parcher and agents within the Soviet army. He becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea that he is being tracked and traced by Russian agents. After trying to flee a university lecture, Nash is sent to a psychiatric facility.
Upon his assessment, Nash and Alicia are told that Nash suffers from Paranoid Schizophrenia and that Charles, Marcee, and Parcher do not exist – they only exist in his mind. After a period of shock therapy, drug treatment, and continued hallucinations, Nash decides to stop his medication and deal with his paranoia in his own way.
John Nash returns to Princeton University in a part-time auditing position, and soon begins to regain control of his hallucinations – and is eventually allowed to teach again. A few years later, Nash is awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.
Like any psychological thriller, A Beautiful Mind gives its audience the chance to delve into the minds of conflicted geniuses, experiencing their hallucinations, and makes us question our own reality. So for that, we applaud this movie.
What sets A Beautiful Mind apart from other movies is its uniqueness. It tells the true story of the incredible mathematical brain of John Nash – but not many people know about this other, intriguing side to him. A side which Hollywood very seldom explores. There really isn’t another movie out there like this one.
This movie also has a beautiful take-away message – which really makes us remember it. Despite his shortcomings, John Nash embraces his difficulties, he embraces his own mind and he learns how and when to control it to achieve the best outcome. Sure, he made his mistakes and he still suffers from schizophrenia, but he has gained control over his own beautiful mind. He yearns to protect his own intelligence and strength – something more of us should do.
When it comes to the acting, it is second to none. In a sense, Russell Crowe is like Marmite – you either love him or you hate him. And in this movie, you can’t help but love him. He completely pulled off the incredibly raw and vulnerable side to John Nash, yet still portrayed his intense determination and genius. A trait most actors would be jealous of.
Alongside its exploration of mental health and mathematics, the thriller storyline complete with spies, shootouts, cryptic clues, and murder is incredibly captivating – so much so that we can’t determine the delusions from the reality. Genius.