A Beautiful Mind
dir Ron Howard
scr Akiva Goldman
with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, Christopher Plummer, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Vivien Cardone, Jason Gray-Stanford, Judd Hirsch, Austin Pendleton
release US 21.Dec.01; UK 22.Feb.02
Universal 01/US 2h14
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
he saw the world... Based on the true story of Nobel Prize winner John Nash, this moving drama is one of Ron Howard's best films as a director, taking a deeply personal voyage through a fascinating life. From the film's opening scenes in the late 1940s, we can tell that Nash (Crowe) is a troubled genius. He's too smart for his own good, earning both respect and ridicule from his fellow students at Princeton (Goldberg, Lucas and Rapp) ... and bemused laughter from his cheeky roommate (Bettany) as he seeks that one original idea. Soon a shady government agent (Harris) puts him to use cracking Soviet codes. But we can also tell that his mind is slipping, and over the years he and his wife (Connelly) are forced to face the realities of schizophrenia.

This is a lovely film, crafted with attention to detail and assembled with real skill. It's also yet another Hollywood movie about a troubled-yet-brilliant mind (see also Rain Man, Forrest Gump, et al). And despite a few annoying mannerisms, Crowe plays Nash with a terrific subtlety that never patronises or sentimentalises him--and avoiding both is remarkable with a character like this. He's not only likely to get his third Oscar nomination in three years running, but he may win his second statuette in two years! Meanwhile, Connelly shines with a sharp energetic turn as his loyal yet struggling wife (an underwritten role brought marvellously to life by the actress), and Bettany confirms his gifts as a consummate scene-stealer. That said, the film does have just a bit too much Hollywood gloss about it; we long for a bit more edge and darkness here. We can't help but feel that the really gritty bits of Nash's life have been left out. But there is just enough here to keep us emotionally engaged--indeed, there are several scenes that move us powerfully, especially as the film works up to its conclusion at the Nobel ceremony in 1994.
adult themes and situations, language cert 12 18.Jan.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
he saw the world... send your review to Shadows... "This movie seems Oscar bent. It won the Golden Globe for best picture, so I wanted to see it - I hate it when a movie wins best picture and I have not seen it! I liked this movie, but I really don't know that I would pick it for best picture. Genius is next to madness, or so people want to think, and maybe that is true. This picture shows John Nash and a bit of his life story, not the whole story - and it is a nice human interest story - it was nice that his wife stuck by him in his time of total madness. Again, I liked this movie, but did not feel it was that awesome! And now I can say I saw it, but I fail to see what all the huge fuss is about - Russell Crowe did a good job portraying a madman, and it will make more of us aware of the contributions John Nash made to our world - but best picture? Guess I don't really see that." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 15.Feb.02
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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