D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
A Beautiful Mind, 2001.
Directed by Ron Howard.
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, Christopher Plummer and Josh Lucas.
A Beautiful Mind is the stunning story of John Nash (Crowe), a Nobel Laureate in Economics, who struggled with paranoid schizophrenia and delusions that threatened to destroy him and his family. The film is based upon the Pulitzer Prize nominated book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar and tells Nash’s story from his school days until he finally gets a grip on his condition in later life. Both the book and film are based upon Nash’s real life and struggles, but the film does differ to some aspects of reality. It won 4 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
John Nash was a promising Princeton student who went on to publish new theories on governing dynamics and then become appointed at MIT. Later he was invited to the Pentagon to crack encrypted codes from enemy intelligence and astonishes everyone by doing so quite easily. Nash is then secretly enlisted by William Parcher (Harris) to search for encrypted messages in newspapers and magazines hidden by Soviet spies. Nash becomes obsessed with searching for codes and posting the results into a secret mailbox for Parcher to pick up. Nash also falls in love with his student Alicia Larde (Connelly) and they marry.
When Nash sees Parcher involved in a bloody shoot out with Soviet soldiers he fears for his life and attempts to give up his work for Parcher, but he is blackmailed into continuing. Whilst giving a lecture at Harvard Nash attempts to run from Soviet soldiers and causes a scene. Once under sedation and in psychiatric care Nash is tested and it is concluded he has schizophrenia and some people from his past are not real. Nash struggles to come to terms with this and whilst also struggling with the side effects of his medication, he puts a strain on himself and those closest to him until he decides that he can deal with his condition and sets about rebuilding his life without medication.
A Beautiful Mind is a film you must see before you die because it is such a beautiful story about one man’s struggle to work out what in his life is real and what people are the creation of his struggling mind. As Nash battles his demons and struggles to keep his life intact, his pain and frustration is so clear and Crowe is fantastic to watch.