“Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart”
So on the off chance I watched A Beautiful Mind a few years ago , and found the whole concept of the movie pretty intriguing. And then recently I’ve specifically wanted to watch movies that make me think and highlight issues which we rarely know about or see in most films. As a result, I freshly re-watched A Beautiful Mind to see it from a more observant view.
The movie was inspired by a bestselling book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar; when the producer Brian Grazer read excerpts from this book he liked what he read and turned it into a screenplay, written by Akiva Goldsman, which was then directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Russell Crowe as the main character Nash , along with actors Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Christopher Plummer and Anthony Rapp in supporting roles.
The film details the life of Nash an academic of high calibre who eventually develops paranoid schizophrenia and experiences delusional episodes. As viewers we watch the process of his mental health slowly deteriorate and how it affects both his professional and personal life. He is naturally not a people’s person as it is, but the illness he develops makes him even more isolated; as he abandons his students and alienates all those around him, and we can clearly see the loss and burden his condition brings on his wife and friends. The movie is an emotionally charged film that touches viewers hearts and minds.
Personally, it was interesting to see a glimpse in to what paranoid schizophrenia is, and the severity of the illness. Nash’s signs of paranoid schizophrenia came after he is given a new assignment by his mysterious supervisor William Parcher (played by Ed Harris) to look for patterns in magazines and newspapers in order to prevent a Soviet plot. Nash becomes increasingly obsessed with this assignment in searching for these supposed hidden messages. Through this obsession combined with the secrecy of the assignment, it causes the onset of his paranoid schizophrenia. Having said that, earlier on in the movie before he was labelled to have paranoid schizophrenia, his behaviour was always slightly odd, and he lacked the natural social skills we so take for granted. Therefore the pressure and circumstances surrounding his new assignment made him more vulnerable and susceptible to develop this mental illness. Although, the movie focuses on his mental health, throughout the film, there are a lot of philosophical statements and questions he poses , some example’s stated are “Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity” and “What is logic?” These are the same kinds of things many well known philosophers have stated and expanded upon. In the film these random philosophical questions and statements are dotted around , and although they don’t go into detail, I like the fact that they are there for us to think and question if we look closely enough.
The film is based on a true story of the mathematician John Forbes Nash jr a Noble prize winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences. However, very little of his actual real story comes across in the movie. Nevertheless, if anything this is not a documentary on his life but rather a dramatization of Sylvia Nasar bestselling book.
The great part of this film is that it highlights the issue of mental health which is very rarely talked about let alone seen in movies. Overall it was a great movie to watch, and I would recommend to see it, if you haven’t already. On a finishing note I will leave you with one the most profound and most beautiful statements from the film that stood out to me and that is when Nash states that “perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart.”
Sophia Alisa Ali©
Length 2hrs 20 min
Released: December 2001
Produced by: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Director: Ron Howard
Screen Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Music by: James Homer
Cinematography: Roger Deakins
Edited: Daniel P Hanley, Mike Hill
Production Company: Imagine Entertainment
2001 Universal Studios and DreamWorks LLC