|"A Beautiful Mind" Movie Review
Director Ron Howard has created a moving masterpiece, elegantly guiding the audience through John Forbes Nash Jr.'s life starting with Nash as an intense, introverted youth striving for that perfect original idea and ending with Nash as a passionate, patient elderly man battling against his inner demons.
Through Howard's skilled hand and via Russell Crowe's amazingly understated yet incredibly touching performance, Nash's achievements and flaws are exposed without portraying mental illness in a clichéd cinematic form. Crowe's Nash is an honest, disturbing look at the price paid by people who suffer from schizophrenia and the toll it takes on families and friends.
"A Beautiful Mind" lays out the story of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash Jr. as he enters Princeton, a bright student with a limitless future ahead of him. Obsessed with finding a way to prove he truly matters, he competes with the other students in Princeton's brutally competitive math department, all of whom are searching for one truly original idea. Inspiration strikes him while he's studying in a local bar surrounded by his rowdy classmates. As they vie for the attention of a stunning blonde, Nash observes their rivalry and, from that, develops his "game theory." Nash's theory contradicts 150 years of accepted theory and earns him a coveted position at MIT where part of his duty is to teach a course to eager young minds.
Jennifer Connelly enters the film as one of those eager young minds, Alicia Larde. Alicia falls for the nervous, socially inept Nash, inviting him to dinner and starting a romance that breathes life into Nash's carefully ordered world. As Nash's mental condition unveils itself, worsening with time, Alicia is the one true thing in his world that remains steadfast and dependable.
Russell Crowe exquisitely captures Nash's passion for his wife, his work, and his unending hunger for excellence. Jennifer Connelly again proves she's a talented actress capable of conquering characters with depth and emotion. The brilliant supporting cast, including Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, and Adam Goldberg, perfectly create the fuzzy environment where Nash roams. Over the course of little more than two hours, director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman succeed in unfolding a beautiful story of love, despair, perseverance, compassion and pride the likes of which hasn't been seen on screen in many years.
"A Beautiful Mind" is easily one of the finest films of the year and deserves the Oscar buzz that surrounds it. The only real Oscar question is whether Crowe's winning last year will negate a nod this year or will the Academy reward what is clearly the best performance of the year with the golden statue it truly deserves.
Overall Grade: A