Good film, but to beat out Moulin Rogue! and Lord of the Rings for Best Picture, ehh, not so much.
John Forbes Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe) was a brilliant economist — when his mind was clear. But life changed forever with the revelation that he was schizophrenic, although his brilliance persisted amidst the anguish his mental illness caused for him and his wife (Jennifer Connelly).
The one thing that caught my eye of this film, was that it one Best Picture in 2001, when other great films such as Gosford Park, Lord of the Rings, In the Bedroom, and Moulin Rogue!, were all nominated. That is why some people hate the Oscars.
I can’t lie but this is a very good film, mostly cause of the direction from Ron Howard. It isn’t a biopic, its an original story mixed with some key elements of Nashs’ life. The way the film shows how he suffers from schizophrenia is neat in a way cause you sense a level of paranoia within yourself, and always wondering what is real or what isn’t real as did this film.
But not only did the film focus on the trauma he was having from this disease, the film also shows how his friends, and his family are all effected by it, and that’s where I think this film works the best at. Because you see how people interact with him before and after the schizophrenia, and you sense a total change by it. The film doesn’t go for the flim-famming of the illness, instead gets right inside this guys head.
However, these are the reasons why I think its a good film but not great. The chemistry between him and the character Jennifer Connelly played as his wife was non-existent, which I cannot buy: A woman would not stand by so selflessly with a paranoid schizophrenic without a deep rooted love and commitment to that love. The climax also features nothing new added to the story, and comes off as just anti-climactic, why?, I don’t even know myself. Finally, the film is focused largely around John Nash’s beautiful mind, and his remarkable accomplishments (which eventually won him the Nobel Prize), but the film does little to attempt to explore the ideas that John Nash developed, and that is perhaps the films biggest short-coming.
I do believe that the performances from Crowe and Connelly are good despite the story’s problem to make it any better. Crowe plays this character with such realism, and doesn’t depict him as being a total nut ball or anything, like we normally see, but instead he plays this character with his signature simplicity, and becomes John Nash. Also, Connelly does a very good job as well, and the scenes she has with Crowe, actually come off as almost better. I just wish she did more roles like this instead of movies like Dark Water.
Consensus: A Beautiful Mind is a good film, but not Best Picture good. Though it has great performances, and great direction from Howard, that balances the illness, and the family Nash was with.