Retro Review: A Beautiful Mind

What lurks in the back of our heads? What feasts on our fears and desires? How much of that is exactly real and how much is a product of our imaginations?

Director Ron Howard delivers us deep into the mind of a reluctant genius as he verges on the breakthrough of a lifetime. John Nash (Russell Crowe) was a mathematician, who brought us revolutionary economic theory that changed the face of economics for all time. John Nash was also schizophrenic and insane.

The true life and story of John Nash takes us back to his early Princeton days through his trying relationship with his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and eventually uncovering his hidden secret buried deep within his mind.

Director Ron Howard cleverly weaves the tale so that we don’t know when Nash actually cracks and when his schizophrenia comes to the surface.

This element is what makes Beautiful Mind so intriguing to watch. The idea of that we know this person is having problems but until it’s fully diagnosed we believe what he believes. We also never know when that part of his life actually does become fully absorbed into the mental disorder.

Howard’s illusions and misleading sidebars are helped a lot by the incredible performance by Russell Crowe’s John Nash. It’s literally incredible watching this actor rebuild himself as a shallow recluse who believes people don’t like him so he always stays in the background.

Its gotta be here somewhere! I cant find it!
It's gotta be here somewhere! I can't find it!

Then watching Crowe evolve this silently disturbed man into an older man dealing with his demons is such an inspiration. That is purely the reason I think there is so much passion in Crowe and Howard’s direction. This is supposed to be an inspiration to us all.

I was also very impressed with the supporting performance by Jennifer Connelly. She has come a long way since her debut in the John Hughes comedy Career Opportunities. Does this woman ever age? She has the same beauty and screen presence she displayed back then and in The Rocketeer, her other notable leading performance.

Howard also reunites with Ed Harris who delivers a good performance as a G-man spook but his role is very limited so it isn’t showcased very much.

Look its a bird! Its a plane! Oh, forget it!

Hands down Beautiful Mind is the best film Howard has done since Apollo 13 and probably the 2nd best film of the veteran filmmaker’s career. It’s that good.

This film will probably deliver Crowe his third Oscar nod and possibly Howard a best director and best picture. What would be a surprise is seeing Harris nominated in the supporting category. Harris is a veteran actor who is always brilliant but no awards ever seem to acknowledge the man.

5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

2 thoughts on “Retro Review: A Beautiful Mind

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