Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind won the award for Best Picture in the Academy Awards (Oscars) of 2001. I always assumed that it was given that honor because of the fact it was about schizophrenics, for the Academy usually hands out awards for political reasons, lately. Anyway, I've never had an opinion on this particular film, until tonight when I first viewed its excellence.

Mind starts out in a mathematics course in Princeton University, with John Nash (played by Russell Crowe) in the corner of the room, listening intently. After class, we discover he is not the average student. Not the average person, for that matter. He gives off an autistic vibe, for he is extremely intelligent, but rather anti-social. When I first saw John's behavior, I immediately compared it to the behavior of Forrest Gump; special abilities, physical movements, and the Southern accent (that one is just a coincidence).

Furthermore, after John graduates Princeton, he moves on to a career in teaching calculus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There, he meets his future wife, Alicia Larde (played by Jennifer Connolly). Alicia is a strange young woman, who is assertive with John, but is also fascinated by his vast knowledge.

However, after the adoring couple get married, John begins to experience hallucinations. His first one was back in college, Charles (played by Paul Bettany), but completely harmless. His second one, William Parcher (played by Ed Harris), however, proved to be quite dangerous (and a nuisence). Parcher brainwashes John into becoming involved in a mission to intercept Soviet messages by deciphering "clues" in newspapers and magazines.

Later, during lecture at Harvard, John is apprehended by Dr. Rosen, the head doctor at MacArthur Psychiatric Hospital, who discovered his antics by his concerned wife. Since John is still experiencing these odd behaviors, he believes the doctors to be Russian spies. He is given medicine to calm his actions, as well as a series of electrical shock treatments.

After a year in the crazy house (no offense), he returns home to his wife and newborn son. However, since the drugs are disrupting his cognitive process, he ceases his medication intake. This, of course, triggers him into insanity once again. There was a scene where he was bathing his son, and while filling up the tub, he wanders off, leaving the helpless baby nearly drowning. (Don't worry, Alicia barges in to save the day, as well as my tears)

By this point, I saw why this movie got the Oscar; everything about is genius, from acting to art direction. Russell Crowe, who I don't care for much, bestows an outstanding performance as the brilliant mathematician. He portrays John Nash so exceptionally, from lecturing students to hysteric outbursts meant for imaginary beings. Jennifer Connelly exquisitely portrays Nash's wife, Alicia; her devotion to her frantic husband is heartwarming and admirable. Well-deserved Oscar, most definitely.

I give this an 85/100. There were moments where I cried, moments where I laughed, moments where I smiled. The scene where John Nash sat the table, as an old, distinguished professor at Princeton, while fellow colleagues granted him with a pen was especially touching, as well as his Nobel Prize win. I cried a fountain of joyful tears, grinning cheerfully. A Beautiful Mind is truly a beautiful movie.
(P.S. I am pleased to say that John Nash is still teaching at Princeton and lives happily with his wife, Alicia Nash)

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