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One of my favorite films of all time... The genius of this film is that it lets one get inside the character. The heart-warming ending is really moving, and I couldn't hold back the tears. Some critics focus on how this differs from John Nash's actual life. I don't think that's the point at all; it's a brilliant story.
This is one of the first real disappointments I have seen as I attempt to watch every Best Picture winner ever. I went in expecting a solid biopic/psychological drama and instead I got a competently directed film with a great Jennifer Connelly performance and not much else. The major issue with this film is that everything gets mawkishly overplayed, the things that were handled well initially slid into melodrama during the second half and the whole film left me rather nonplussed. If they were going to reward Ron Howard they should have done it for Apollo 13 (1995) or The Paper (1994) both of which play to his talents far more and aren't predicated on an Akiva Goldsman screenplay. It's a flawed but enjoyable film with some elements that deserved to be rewarded however it is no way better than In the Bedroom (2001) or Gosford Park (2001).
John Forbes Nash, Russell Crowe, is a mathematical genius who struggles with social interactions as he arrives at the prestigious Princeton University in 1947. We see him develop the mathematical theories that he will become famous for, face down his less talented foes and fall in love with his student, Alicia, Jennifer Connelly. What the film is more interested in is the paranoid schizophrenia that Nash faced later in his life and how his delusions of William Parcher, Ed Harris, effected his marriage and his career. When those around him find out they try their hardest to be supportive but face issues as he continues to relapse into his old ways.
The first thing I must remark upon is Connelly's performance because she is fantastic despite the screenplay she is working with and fully deserved her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. She is able to make her character more than just the suffering but supportive wife as we see her quiet desperation and love in all of her interactions and when she essentially becomes the main character for a large portion of the film she is extremely compelling. She also manages to pull off her accent better than Crowe, who struggles to maintain a Southern lilt, and to display a certain enthusiasm for their relationship. The one moment that ruins her character's development, which is entirely the fault of Goldsman and Howard, is her freak-out in which she smashes all of the glass objects in their bathroom. It was unnecessary and the filmmakers would have been wise to employ some subtlety in conveying the effect that Nash's mental disorder had on his life.
The issues I had with the film were Crowe's performance, the obvious direction and the ham-fisted dialogue. Crowe can be a great actor and he possesses charisma as seen in The Insider (1999) and The Nice Guys (2016) but here he seems like he's doing a bad impersonation and he never shakes that lack of authenticity throughout the film. Of course the terrible prosthetics when he is seen as an old man don't help him but I wanted him to do something other than awkwardly stuttering and stating rather inappropriate requests as though they were perfectly logical.
Howard is a strong comedic and dramatic director but no one would call him subtle and here we see Nash picking up on various conspiracies through white flashes and shots of Crowe's eyebrows shooting upwards. Because we are meant to believe he is a savant Howard does get to use some of his abilities as a comedic director but even then the punch-lines are so obvious it's hard to laugh. Goldsman is a poor screenwriter, he's the man behind Batman and Robin (1997), and here it shows as I fully expected Crowe to state the title of the film during most of his monologues. Every line drips with contrivance and when Harris is revealed to be not who you think he is he becomes a cartoon.
This is a film that is perfectly entertaining and certainly better than The Imitation Game (2014) or The Theory of Everything (2014) but it will leave you wanting something more. If you want to see a great film about a paranoid schizophrenic watch Images (1972). In the Bedroom (2001) would have been my Best Picture winner this year and I find it sad that something so flawed is now in the history books as the supposed best film released in a year.
Crowe is excellent but the film is overly long and strays too far from the truth.
Very very dissapointing
exceptional movie showcasing the demons of the intuitive human psyche that tells intuitives that they cant achieve their future goals and the ones that tell us that we should just relax and have fun in the moment when we know we should look to the future!
The theme and the story are fascinating, overall well done, but the message is blurred and it sounds banal as not being well supported by the story.
The best, GREATEST inspiring movie ever made!
This film was truly magnificent in every sense of the word. From Crowe's legendary performance, to expertly arranged editing and cinematography, to the raw emotion brought to the table the socially relevant storyline, A Beautiful Mind is deserving of every bit of praise heaped upon it in my opinion.
'A Beautiful Mind' offers powerful performances by Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly and a touching love story, but this Hollywood bio-pic of a mathematical genius with schizophrenia strays quite off the path from the real story of Nobel Peace Prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr.
Intensely directed by Ron Howard, but warmly buoyed by actor Russell Crowe, this semi-true representation of a schizophrenic life perfectly shows the dangers and flaws of paranoia, and shows surprising hope for overcoming one's own demons.