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A Beautiful Mind

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: A Beautiful Mind

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Ron Howard
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 129 Minutes
Release Date: January 2002
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Paul Bettany, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer

Review by Liz Quinn
3 stars out of 4

A Beautiful Mind is the true story of professor John Nash, a mathematical genius and his battle with schizophrenia. Getting off to a slow start it takes about half way through the movie before the action takes place.

But once the story kicks off the mystery of the plot unravels in a twilight zone fashion and we are left actually inside the mind of John Nash constantly wondering what is real and what is a delusion.

Russell Crowe is superb in the role of John Nash and in keeping us guessing whether he is really sane or insane.

Beginning in 1947 the story chronicles the life of John Nash as a student at Princeton. Judd Hirsh is Nash's professor. The eccentric Nash appears to have a group of friends yet spends most of his time in the library jotting down mathematical formulas on the library windows and in his room. He admits, "I don't like people much and they don't like me much."

While at Princeton he meets roommate Charles (Paul Bettany) who becomes his best friend and Alicia (Jennifer Connelly) who he falls in love with.

After college John works as a professor and also supposedly gets offered a job by William Parcher (Ed Harris) for the Pentagon cracking codes to prevent the Russians from using the atomic bomb. He meets his future wife while he is teaching a math course at Princeton. The two begin dating and eventually marry.

Soon John's world begins to disintegrate into paranoid delusions. John is hospitalized for mental illness and he is under the care of Dr. Rosen (Christopher Plummer). John tells Alicia that it is a government conspiracy. Alicia believes John until she finds out that the Wheeler Building in which Nash was suppose to be working is closed off and the confidential papers he was working on were never mailed.

She is horrified to find the walls of the office John was suppose to be working in covered in circled newspaper clippings of conspiracies and meaningless codes. It is at this point that Alicia is forced to come to terms with John's illness. He receives shock treatments and eventually comes home.

John's descent into madness is gripping and the support of his wife through it all is poignant. Throughout the marriage we are left wondering how she will continue to cope with working to support the family and take care of the baby. She drops the baby off at her mother's, as the truly ill John cannot be left to take care of the baby and almost drowns him when he leaves the baby in the tub. Yet Alicia sticks by him through it all.

John, refusing to take his medication, is once again governed by his delusions that he is working for the government, clipping newspaper articles obsessively and jotting down codes.

John goes to see an old friend at Princeton and asks him if he can observe classes and try to get his sanity back. John has a paranoid delusion and is laughed at by the other students. Although John is never rid of his delusions and he sees things that aren't there, he teaches at Princeton able to ignore the delusions. In 1994 John Nash receives the Nobel Prize for a mathematical theory that revolutionizes economics.

Although it gets off to a slow start, A Beautiful Mind is a worthwhile movie. It is an accurate account of mental illness although quite tragic at moments it ends with optimism as we are left to see what one man can accomplish despite what seem unbeatable odds.

Copyright 2002 Liz Quinn

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