Review: A Beautiful Mind (2001)

russell-crowe-a-beautiful-mind-c10102591

I don’t know about any sort of beautiful mind, but I do know that Jennifer Connelly has one beautiful rack! Yes, I am vulgar, so sue me!

Written By: Akiva Goldsman
Directed by: Ron Howard

A Beautiful Mind is a film that came out of nowhere for me. In all my various conversations about this film I have been told by many people that A Beautiful Mind is a highly overrated film. A good number of people even expressed to me their belief that A Beautiful Mind isn’t a good film at all and is a classic example of the Academy getting it all wrong. Realizing how maligned the film was I decided to give it a shot and DVR the film to see what all the fuss was about. I began my viewing with much trepidation, but when forced to pause the film for a second I realized that over forty minutes had passed in a time span that felt like five minutes to me. To all those who ever preached to me of the ills of A Beautiful Mind, I say you are wrong, oh so wrong. A Beautiful Mind is a quality film that is worthy of any of the praise it receives.

Compelling is the one word I would use to describe A Beautiful Mind. From the second the opening credits started rolling I was drawn into the story, into the world of John Nash. I hate math, I hate math with a passion, but Ron Howard managed to make a film where math was the main nexus to humanity and I loved every second of it. You care about the relationships of John, both real and delusional. You fear for him when he is in the car chase, you root for him when Alicia first shows interest in him. You are crushed when you find out his entire world was full of delusions and imaginary people. Then, in a great twist, the delusional characters come back and you are left wondering what is delusional and what is real yet again. Finally, you are captivated by John’s path to recovery and a somewhat normal life, all through the power of his own will and his wife’s good intentions and love.

Russell Crowe does a superb job of pulling off the eccentricities of someone like John Nash. The tick he develops early on combined with his manner of speaking, or not speaking as the case may be, to others was wonderful to watch and made his character very unique. Jennifer Connelly does look very lovely, like I said in the tag line, but she is also good as the soft spoken heart to John’s neurotic brain. The rest of the cast is equally to the task, with good complimentary performances from Ed Harris, the criminally underrated Paul Bettany and Adam Goldberg.

As much as A Beautiful Mind is a character study of John Nash, it makes the conscious decision at the midway point to make the movie just as much about Alicia Nash as John. Unfortunately this also leads to the films few problems. Down the home stretch the character of Alicia disappears, and that creates a problem with the narrative and leaves the viewer with a let down feeling. I also had a problem with the character of Bender, he was around and important one moment, then would be gone and useless the next. I realize that A Beautiful Mind was about John, and Alicia, but it would have helped to have someone like Bender appear more integral to John’s life, rather than the guy that pops up every once in a great while.

A Beautiful Mind works as a drama, a human interest story and a suspense thriller at times. What A Beautiful Mind requires most of all is for the viewer to believe, they need to buy into what is happening in John’s mind otherwise the movie falls apart. I can understand why people who didn’t find the subject material compelling would end up not liking this picture. However, for those who did find it compelling, were taken with the characters and loved the story A Beautiful Mind is a great picture, one that will fascinate you and leave you feeling satisfied when it is over.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

Advertisements

3 responses to “Review: A Beautiful Mind (2001)

  1. I agree, It didnt strike me on first viewing as being spectacular but as a Jen fan I’ve watched it many times now and it gets better each time. I’m glad the Academy saw in it what it took me a while to see.

  2. I think the film has a simplicity to it that is alluring. I don’t think back on A Beautiful Mind as a tremendous film, but that allure is still present.

  3. Pingback: Podcast Review: Best PictureCast | Bill's Movie Emporium

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s