A Beautiful Mind


A Beautiful MindStarring:
Russell Crowe as John Forbes Nash Jr.
Ed Harris as William Parcher
Jennifer Connelly as Alicia Nash
Paul Bettany as Charles
Adam Goldberg as Sol
Vivien Cardone as Marcee
Judd Hirsch as Helinger
Josh Lucas as Hansen
Anthony Rapp as Bender
Christopher Plummer as Dr. Rosen
Scott Fernstrom as Trent Humphres
Jason Gray-Stanford as Ainsley

A Beautiful Mind is an excellent film with an interesting and surprising twist.

In the 50’s, John Forbes Nash Jr. begins attending Princeton University. He’s a mathematical genius, but he’s also somewhat rude and socially awkward. He’s so obsessed with finding an original mathematical concept that everything else becomes secondary. With the threat of losing his scholarship looming, he comes up with a revolutionary new theory. This earns him a job with the government and teaching on the side.

He soon begins code breaking for the U.S. Government and even falls in love with one of his students. Nash is eventually recruited by a shady looking government agent named William Parcher for a secret project. Parcher needs him to decode secret messages sent by the Russians. However, Nash quickly finds himself in over his head as nothing is what it appears to be.

Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, sexual content and a scene of violence.

What Worked:
A Beautiful Mind is one of those unique films that have a surprise twist which makes you totally rethink what you’ve just seen. Like The Sixth Sense, the twist in this film makes you realize you’ve viewed most of the film under a misconception as far back as the beginning of the picture. This also helps you to sympathize more with Nash as events continue to unfold. I won’t spoil the surprise here, but I certainly didn’t see it coming. The less you know about the movie going in, the better.

The acting in the film is first rate. Russell Crowe transforms himself into Nash pretty thoroughly. He takes on his physical mannerisms, his speech, and other traits. Crowe makes you buy his performance and sympathize with his character. Jennifer Connelly continues to mature as an actress as Nash’s wife. I’ve been a fan of hers since Labyrinth and The Rocketeer, but she really is more impressive here. She must deal with Nash’s problems and ends up being the one solid anchor he can hold onto throughout the film.

Since this film is about a math genius, it would be easy for Ron Howard to bog the film down with technical theories or mathematical equations. Conversely, he could have thrown out a bunch of mathematical mumbo jumbo and insulted your intelligence. Howard actually manages to find a good balance between explaining Nash’s theory and not overwhelming you with advanced mathematics. For example, Nash’s Nobel Award winning theory is explained through an example of guys trying to pick up girls. When he puzzles through secret codes, you get an interesting visual of letters in the codes popping out of text and forming the hidden messages. It helps you to understand what’s going on in his mind.

The rest of the cast supports the story well. It’s nice to see Judd Hirsch and Ed Harris in good roles. The music by James Horner is also good. Overall A Beautiful Mind is an interesting film and well worth checking out. Expect some award nominations to go to it.

What Didn’t Work:
I can’t really complain about anything in this film. If anything, it does tend to get a little slow in places. I would have also liked to have seen a little bit about Nash before he arrived at Princeton. What was his family background? How did he end up like he was?