DIRECTOR: Ron Howard
May Contain Spoilers!
Winner of 4 Oscars in 2002, including Best Picture and Director for Ron Howard, a hit and miss director who when he gets it right, he gets it right with films such as Backdraft (1991) and Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind follows the real life journey of John Nash, a renowned mathematician who battled with schizophrenia to eventually win a Nobel Prize in 1994. The film begins in 1947, as a young Nash (Russell Crowe) enters Princeton University and we are introduced to a man who finds it difficult to relate to others and is obsessed with making his mark, in-spite of his unwillingness to conform or even attend classes.
And this is how it seems that the film will play out, as he must prove himself against the odds, but no. He makes his mark quickly, publishing an equation which will eventually win him the Nobel Prize, with the help of his room-mate, Paul Bettany. From there, he graduates and before we know it, Nash is being summoned to the Pentagon to break a top Secret code. He then meets Ed Harris’s C.I.A. man, who enlist his help with decoding more communist codes but things take a dark turn as he is discovered by the “Reds”, or is he?
It soon becomes apparent that his is suffering from delusions and his espionage work, beyond that of the initial Pentagon visit, has all been in his head, as was his room-mate, Bettany. The film’s next turn is showing the suffering of his wife, Jennifer Connelly and the long and only so much successful journey of Nash to control his delusions and return to something of a normal life. In the end, he achieves this but the film takes several leaps, for example, jumping from his return to credibility at Princeton in 1978 to the Nobel Prize awards in 1994. It just feels a bit rushed, uneven and even though Crowe was praised heavily for his performance, earning him an Oscar nomination, I feel that he’s delivered better, The Insider (1999) springs to mind, but this feels nothing more than a traditional biopic of man and his family braving adversity and coming out the other side.