A Beautiful Mind (2001)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 2001.  Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Imagine Entertainment.  Screenplay by , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Russell Crowe dominates this powerful film biography of Nobel Prize award-winner John Nash, a math genius who wrote a still-influential thesis during his university studies in the fifties only to succumb to paranoid schizophrenia at the height of his career. Jennifer Connelly stars as his long-suffering wife, who loves him enough to stand by him during his most difficult times while brimming with government conspiracy theories, and believes in him enough to not commit him to an insane asylum even when it seems that it could be dangerous for her and their son to keep him around.

These two performers are so wonderfully intense that they are capable of making you forget that director Ron Howard is helming this film with the emotional breadth of a twelve year-old, smothering the finer points of the story into lame feelgood pandering. Were it not for Crowe’s willingness to look ugly and be admirable in a naturally human way, Nash’s story would have become more like Forrest Gump than this comfortably entertaining cross between The Manchurian Candidate and Mr. Holland’s Opus.  is excellent in a supporting role as one of Crowe’s roommates, and Roger Deakins contributes gorgeous cinematography to the film (see also The Man Who Wasn’t There).

Academy Awards:  Best Picture; Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly); Best Director (Ron Howard); Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominations: Best Actor (Russell Crowe); Best Makeup; Best Film Editing; Best Original Score

Golden Globe Awards:  Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Russell Crowe); Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly); Best Screenplay
Nominations: Best Director (Ron Howard); Best Original Score

Screen Actors Guild Award:  Best Actor (Russell Crowe)
Nominations: Outstanding Motion Picture Cast; Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly)

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