A Beautiful Mind (2001) starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany, Vivien Cardone, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Jason Gray-Stanford, Judd Hirsch directed by Ron Howard Movie Review

A Beautiful Mind (2001)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Russell Crowe as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind

It Won't Dull Your Mind

I never would have thought that I would find a biopic on the life of a mathematician enjoyable, interesting, thrilling, moving, education and finally absolutely brilliant, but that is exactly what "A Beautiful mind is". Directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe, "A Beautiful Mind" details the life of John Nash one of the world's greatest mathematical minds. It follows his life from his ground breaking discovery whilst studying at Princeton, through the romance with his future wife Alicia, to the discovery of his schizophrenia which had unknowingly plagued his life and finally onto him regaining control of his life and winning a Nobel Prize for his discovery he made at Princeton.

Back in the late 1940s, mathematical genius, John Nash (Russell Crowe - Gladiator), is struggling to come up with an original theory for his paper, whilst studying at Princeton University. He finally makes an outstanding discovery which leads him to the verge of greatness. After university, he continues his mathematical research, but at the same time is forced to teach mathematics. It is whilst teaching that he becomes romantically involved with one of his students, Alicia (Jennifer Connelly - Labyrinth), who he goes on to marry. In the meantime he asked to assist a secret government agency in cracking some highly complex soviet codes. He finds himself getting deeper and deeper involved with the government agency and into the centre of a stressful conspiracy. All of this causes him to become increasingly paranoid until Alicia makes a discovery that will turn their lives upside down.

Ed Harris as Parcher in A Beautiful Mind

As is expect there has been some poetic licence used to create some of the events depicted in "A Beautiful Mind", it has been done not only to enhance the enjoyment of the viewer but also to assist you in understanding how schizophrenia affected the life of Nash. From start to finish "A Beautiful Mind" is indeed very educational, and I am sure, like myself, a lot of viewers that have never really come across schizophrenia before, let alone understood it will learn from the unravelling drama. To put it simply "A Beautiful Mind" does a great job of explaining this illness and by the time the credits roll you will have some understanding of how it affects people's lives.

Of course "A Beautiful Mind" is much more than just educational, it is in fact a very good thriller which keeps you guessing what is real and what isn't right up to the credits. On top of this it is an extremely moving story of a man's mental decline but then his battle to regain control of his life thanks to the love of his wife. All of these things make it a very powerful and enjoyable movie.

In the lead role of John Nash is Russell Crowe who demonstrates again that he is a very talented actor who is capable of taking on many different personas. His performance here is very intense as he takes on the mammoth task of not just playing a great mathematician but also demonstrating the affect of schizophrenia. I would imagine that playing Nash was extremely mentally demanding and draining.

Nash's wife, Alicia, is played by the stunning Jennifer Connelly who to say she adds glamour to a mainly male cast is an understatement, but she is not just in "A Beautiful Mind" as eye candy. Connelly plays the part of Alicia very convincingly especially in the scene where she finds out that Nash is loosing control again. There are also several characters in the movie such as Charles, Nash's university room mate played by Paul Bettany and his Niece, Marcee, played by Vivien Cardone. These two characters crop up through out the movie at various points in Nash's life and along with these 2 characters is Parcher, the government agent played by Ed Harris, who becomes Nash's main tormentor. All the supporting cast put in Oscar winning performances and are all crucial in making this film so enjoyable.

What this all boils down to is that "A Beautiful Mind" is one of those rare movies where basically everything falls into place to deliver something bordering on brilliant. The story of mathematician John Nash is not only fascinating but also entertaining and when it comes to his schizophrenia eye opening. Whilst the direction of Ron Howard is spot on it is the performances most notably of Russell Crowe which helps elevate this to another level.