A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Reviewed on 2010 June 18
Tear-inducing film based on the story of brilliant mathematician and economist John Nash, who has epiphanies like the Nash Equilibrium even as he’s struggling with mental illness.
John Forbes Nash (Russell Crowe) is a gifted fish-out-of-water at Princeton, where his eccentricities and brilliance stand out even among the other twitchy geniuses. Nash has to come up with a thesis; but the eureka moment cannot be rushed, and Nash starts to show some signs of stress. On a rare night out with some friends he has a revelation, a new approach of game theory, and soon he’s teaching at MIT. Problems arise in earnest for Nash when his brilliance is noticed by the shadowy Parcher (Ed Harris), who recruits him to work for the government and swears him to total secrecy, even from his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly).
Though it deviates — at times, freely — from the real story of Nash and his suffering, Ron Howard’s direction is great here, treating Nash sympathetically and respectfully without being maudlin. The casting is good, with Connelly even looking a little bit like the real Alicia Nash, and the acting is first-rate too.
Three chocolate morsels. Read the book by Sylvia Nasar, too.