Oscar Review: A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Winner of 4 Academy Awards – including Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly), Director (Ron Howard, his first), and Adapted Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman) – and nominated for 4 others, A Beautiful Mind is a master work of cinema.
The story follows the life of brilliant mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) from his time as a student at Princeton and the exciting and trying years to follow. As a young man, John competes with his fellow students, and himself, to come up with one truly original idea. As he goes, his free-spirited roommate Charles (Paul Bettany) helps him to feel normal amidst the rat race of academia.
After graduating, John goes to work at MIT while doing cryptography for the military. While teaching a class, which he feels is a waste of time, a young, independent woman, Alicia (Jennifer Connelly), captures his heart as she breaks through the elaborate walls of his personality.
When he is tapped by a mysterious government agent (Ed Harris) to do some top secret code breaking, John withdraws from his friends, his work, and his beloved Alicia and begins down a turbulent road of self-destruction.
Finally getting the help he needs, John is able to focus on his real work, renew his commitment to his family and go on to winning a Nobel Prize in economics.
Supported by notable performances by Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, and Anthony Rapp, this is the role that deserved to earn Russell Crowe his Best Actor statuette.
Director Ron Howard has been a giant in the entertainment industry since his young days on TV and just about everything his puts his mark on has become a classic. A Beautiful Mind is no different. Its depth of character and the psychological struggles of such a brilliant man coupled with tremendous writing make this one of the finest films of 2001.
It is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and always find small details that I’ve never caught before. It’s just a great film.