A Beautiful Mind is the semi-true story about a great math mind, the mind of John Nash. John Nash was undoubtedly a brilliant man, a code breaking machine. Although as seems to be the case with all brilliant minds there comes with it a brilliant curse. A Beautiful Mind follows John Nash though the torment of his mind. A man cursed, seeing things that aren't really there and becoming caught up in a conspiracy that's not all that it appears to be. The film displays how Nash deals with his experiences as well as how it affects those around him. For fear of spoiling the film for those who may not have not yet seen it I won't go into too anymore detail, but if you enjoy truly wonderful films you are doing yourself a disservice by not seeing this.
While A Beautiful Mind is "based" upon true events the story, as always, is exaggerated by Hollywood. Anyone interested in the complete account should check out the book that the film was based on also titled A Beautiful Mind, written by Sylvia Nasar. It's an interesting read, a little technical in places but it shines a light on John Nash where the film doesn't go. A Beautiful Mind sugar coats Nash's life quite a bit; in reality he was a pretty perverted guy, which actually makes you appreciate what his wife had to put up with a lot more than what's simply revealed on screen. The book also covers his illusions and reveals they really weren't such a large occurrence in his life as the film suggests. But technicalities aside this is truly a great film whether it follows the actual life of Nash to a " T " or not.
Where A Beautiful Mind shines is it's all-star cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer (you hear that Univarn?), Paul Bettany and Josh Lucas. Of course the two real shining stars are Crowe and Connelly, whose character relationship's are full of ups and downs. The role of John Nash is in my opinion Crowe's best performance easily topping Gladiator. It's in this film Crowe experiences the full spectrum of emotions and insanity, it's a role I couldn't imagine anyone else able to pull off. Connelly is great as well as her character struggles to stay sane through her husbands irritating quirks and literal insanity. Was her performance worthy of the Oscar she received? That's debatable, personally I'd say yes, but I thought Crowe's was better and he robbed, still there's no question that she's an extremely talented actress.
Now it's time for my rant. My only qualm about the film, which is not even about the film itself but more about how Russell was robbed of his Academy Award. How does a film that wins Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, not win Best Actor? In this case the lead actor is not only the main focus of the story but is the defining factor that leads to the success of the other four major categories. If someone else was cast in the role and did a mediocre job does anyone honestly believe A Beautiful Mind would have received any acknowledgment?
While Denzel Washington is a great actor I can't help but feeling the Academy was somehow reconciling for some deep seeded guilt at an African American not winning the lead actor award for forty years and an actress never winning, then suddenly Denzel and Halle Berry both win in the same year! Denzel had one an Academy Award for best supporting actor and probably should have one best actor for some other role in the past, Halle Berry's on the other hand was a complete gimme, she has more beauty than she has talent. Obviously this was all more than simply a coincidence, which I guess is not a surprise win it comes to award shows but still does not devalue the fact that Crowe should have been a shoo-in winner.
Overall, for a time A Beautiful Mind was my favorite film. A fabulous film, dark, dramatic, mysterious, well cast, well directed, with a haunting soundtrack, and the best Russell Crowe performance to date. The only film to dethrone this one for my current all-time favorite is Cinderella Man which has everything A Beautiful Mind has and one thing extra... it's a highly inspirational film, where A Beautiful Mind can be downright depressing at times.
Available on DVD / Blu-ray
Available on DVD / Blu-ray