A Beautiful Mind (2001)
USA / English
"He Saw The World In A Way No One Could Have Imagined. "After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish.
Powerful, quiet, effortless Crowe
A Beautiful Mind
Director Ron Howard has experience in playing with his audience's
heartstrings. Remember in Apollo 13, when the fate of the astronauts was
uncertain? (Ok, so if you remember your recent history, you knew.... but
still!) Or remember in Parenthood, when Steve Martin's kid was about to
the crucial catch? Ol Opie can still pluck those strings with the best of
them. (And you know, he'll never stop being called Opie, even by those of
who never saw The Andy Griffith Show during its initial run.) And plucking
heartstrings is not a bad thing at all, not when you can do it in such a
sincere, noncloying way as the masterful Beautiful Mind presents to its
John Nash is a mathematics prodigy who has a decided knack at solving
previously unsolvable problems. He's socially dysfunctional, rarely
anyone in the eye, but pours all of his energy - and soul - into producing
one original idea, an idea that will distinguish him from all of the other
mathemathical minds at Princeton University.
But John, like most who have had movies made about them, had his ups and
He meets and falls for a beautiful student of his named Alicia (Jennifer
Connelly), and they produce a baby. But John also suffers from tremendous
delusions and is diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia's a
tough disease, folks - it's still not fully understood, and Nash was
diagnosed with it in the middle of last century. He spends time in a
sanitarium, as doctors struggle to find a cure.
Russell Crowe is absolutely powerful as the confused and confusing Nash.
Although the marquee says "Russell Crowe", you'll immediately forget this
the hunky guy from Gladiator. I mean after all, he's playing some nerdy
scientist dude! But Crowe completely disappears in the role, and he's
unforgettable. Actors kill for roles like this one, because it gives them
chance to show off their acting chops. For many actors, this is the kiss
death, because then they're exposed as poor thespians. But not for Crowe;
anything, this proves once and for all that he's a grand master of acting.
realize that sounds like overkill for him, but I think that when actors
labeled as a "hunk" - their skills as actors aren't seen as very
substantial. Hey, looking darn good worked against Tom Selleck, and to a
degree it has worked against Crowe as well.
And he ages well, too. The movie takes place over a fairly extended period
of time, ending with Nash's acceptance of the Nobel Prize in 1994. The
makeup on Nash is neither garish nor schmaltzy; he looks completely
And that's the essence of Crowe's performance. It's sincere, never trying
win over the audience with a sly wink here or a toss of the hair there.
Crowe shows remarkable poise, elegance, and is utterly astounding in the
His supporting cast is more than able. Jennifer Connelly is better than I
thought she would be; in most roles, she's the eye candy. But this role
meat to it, and she held her own. It wasn't an easy role to play, and she
pulled it off. And her scenes with Crowe do have that movie magic that
of us looks for when we go to movies, that one moment, that compatible
chemistry that leaves audiences mesmerized.
And yes, this does have some very, very touching moments. The final scene,
while predictable (even if you don't know the outcome in real life), will
bring more than one tear to the eye. Yes, I'll admit it, it got me right
here. But it's okay; I did that old 'guy-crying-in-movie-theater' trick.
you feel the brime falling from the lid, you make a motion toward your
and then you scratch vigorously; people might think you have a skin
infection and move away slowly, but at least they won't think you're a
At any rate, it's certainly one of the best movies of the year.
in place: the direction, the photography, and especially the
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