A BEAUTIFUL MIND
This is not a movie about the return to health after the depth of mental illness. It is a story of a return to life in the midst of mental illness. In that life is a triumph far beyond what those of us with a life filled with mental health can fully comprehend.
REVIEWS BY DARREL MANSON and ANNETTE WIERSTRA

A BEAUTIFUL MIND
(2001)


This page was created on December 26, 2001
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by Ron Howard
Book by Sylvia Nasar
Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman

Russell Crowe .... John Forbes Nash Jr.
Ed Harris .... William Parcher
Jennifer Connelly .... Alicia Nash
Paul Bettany .... Charles
Adam Goldberg .... Sol
Click to enlargeVivien Cardone .... Marcee
Judd Hirsch .... Helinger
Josh Lucas .... Hansen
Anthony Rapp .... Bender
Christopher Plummer .... Dr. Rosen

Produced by Brian Grazer (producer), Todd Hallowell (executive producer), Ron Howard (producer), Karen Kehela (executive producer)
Original music by James Horner
Click to enlargeCinematography by Roger Deakins
Film Editing by Daniel P. Hanley and Mike Hill

PG-13 - for intense thematic material, sexual content and a scene of violence

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A Beautiful Mind (2001 film)
James Horner

1. Kaleidoscope Of Mathematics, A 2. Playing A Game Of "GO!" 3. Looking For The Next Great Idea 4. Creating "Governing Dynamics" 5. Cracking The Russian Codes 6. Nash Descends Into Parcher's World 7. First Drop-Off, First Kiss 8. The Car Chase 9. Alicia Discovers Nash's Dark World 10. Real Or Imagined? 11. Of One Heart, Of One Mind 12. Saying Goodbye To Those You So Love 13. Teaching Mathematics Again 14. The Prize Of One's Life...The Prize Of One's Mind 15. All Love Can Be - Charlotte Church 16. Closing Credits

He saw the world
in a way no one could have imagined.
Click to enlargeSYNOPSIS:
From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over his tragedy, and finally - late in life - received the Nobel Prize.
REVIEW
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Review by David Bruce

REVIEW BY
DARREL MANSON
Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA
http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch01198

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film. Some of his reviews: Chocolat, Dancer in the Dark, Faithless, Finding Forrester, Memento, O Brother Where art Thou, Pollock, Quills, Shadow of a Vampire, Widow of St Pierre, Jump Tomorrow, Tortilla Soup, Go Tiger, Life As a House, The Business of Strangers, The Man Who Wasn't There, A Beautiful Min

Click to enlargeI've always had a fascination with insanity. Don Quixote is one of my heroes. There is just something appealing about being able to see a world that isn't there for anyone else.

Of course, mental illness is serious and brings a great deal of suffering, but sometimes that insanity may give something no one else can ever have.

Click to enlargeJohn Nash was brilliant. Instead of going to classes while in graduate school at Princeton, he looked for some pattern or formula that would be an original thought and make him something special. And he found it, and it eventually led to his receiving the Nobel Prize in Economics. A man with absolutely no social skills, he spent most of his time alone or working.Click to enlarge In time he found someone to love and a life with meaning. But through it all, he was mentally ill, diagnosed with schizophrenia and paranoia. The treatment left him unable to think or work or even enjoy his life with his family. And so, as many mentally ill do, he went off his medication, and the illness and all its ugliness returned.

Click to enlargeThis is not a movie about the return to health after the depth of mental illness. It is a story of a return to life in the midst of mental illness. In that life is a triumph far beyond what those of us with a life filled with mental health can fully comprehend. This is among the best movies I've seen this year. Russell Crowe is amazing as the troubled genius who is torn between his world and reality. Ron Howard's direction is wonderful. Howard dazzles us with both brilliance and surprise throughout the story. I had to wonder as I watched Nash's story, to what extent did his illness fuel his brilliance? Could he have done the amazing things he did without all the devils that filled his life? As brilliant as he was, would he have accomplished much of anything if the chemicals in his brain had been in balance?

Click to enlargeI also had to consider if the reality I experience might in some ways hinder me from fully seeing all that God has for me to see. Are there ways that faith and the Spirit might be bits of insanity that God gifts us with? There are those who look at some of the great spiritual sages and suspect various mental illnesses. And maybe they' re right. There is a mentally ill homeless woman who occasionally stops by my office for prayer. She tells me of the demons that are trying to control her, of the frequencies that the planes flying over head emit, the ministries she has in various other cities. Sometimes I think about our society that allows such people to fend for themselves. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn' t be better for her to be under medical care. And sometimes I wonder if perhaps that world of hers isn't as real as mine, and that God has indeed given her important ministries that are beyond what I, or any sane minister, could ever do.

REVIEW BY
ANNETTE WIERSTRA
Reporter, Writer
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Annette is a writer and reporter living in Canada. Check out her in-depth interviews in Left Behind, Hollow Man, Chicken Run, What Lies Beneath, Final Fantasy, A Beautiful Mind

Click to enlargeI expected the movie "A Beautiful Mind" to inspire me. It's true story about John Forbes Nash Jr. a Nobel Prize winning mathematician and a schizophrenic. I knew Russell Crowe, starring as Nash, could carry the role of the troubled scientist. His performance reminds me of his role Dr. Jeffery Wigand who took on the tobacco companies in another true story "The Insider."

I was right. "A Beautiful Mind" is well acted, well produced and tells an incredible story. But while I watched the credits role on "A Beautiful Mind" I wasn't thinking about the inspiration or Crowe's acting ability. I was thinking about love. And I kept pondering it all the way home.

Click to enlargeNash marries one of his physic students while teaching at MIT. Alicia Larde (Jennifer Connelly) found Nash's eccentricities charming and asks him out to dinner. In 1957 the two were married.

It is only a few years later that Nash's schizophrenia is diagnosed. He becomes paranoid and delusional and at times violent. The realization of the extent of his illness is sickening. Nash's world comes crashing down around him. Click to enlargePeople and things he believes are real are all in his head. Nash can no longer be convinced about who is real and who is in his head.

Nash is given shock therapy and locked in an institution to heal his mind. With prescriptions to stop the hallucinations, Nash is sent back home to his wife. The drugs of the '60s are so strong that Nash's usually active mind was sluggish.

Click to enlargeThe drugs also reduced his ability to be intimate with his wife, making an already strained relationship even more difficult. Alicia has to live with a husband who has displayed violent tendencies and a loose grip on reality.

I fully expected the couple to split up. If I was in Alicia's situation I don't know if I would have had the courage and commitment to stay with Nash - but I hope I would. In a time when marriage breakups are common, I think even the more conservative minded could understand why the Nash's relationship could fail.

Click to enlargeIt really makes me feel that this couple had a deep understanding of what love really is. Love is more than attraction and a few picnics in the park. It's a commitment and a daily choice to stay with that person. Love carried them through some terrible difficulties. Not only did they have to deal with Nash's illness but their son, John Charles Nash born in 1960, was also diagnosed with the disease.

With Alicia's support, Nash moves back into the real world. He starts to keep office hours at Princeton University in New Jersey and work with students. Slowly Nash regains control over his life and his disease. In 1994, the world acknowledged his original ideas about governing ideas with the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.

Click to enlargeThe movie doesn't touch on it but the couple did divorce in 1963. But divorce did not separate the couple. Nash continued to live with Alicia and the couple struggled through the illness together. In 2001, at the age of 71, Nash remarried the 68 year-old Alicia.

A verse from the Bible came to mind when I thought about the love between the couple. "[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." Corinthians 13: 7-8. The Nash's love lasted over 40 years against some incredible odds.

Click to enlargeI think God is like Alicia. I think he put up with our delusions and failings and keeps plugging along at our side. It's a good feeling to know that His divine love never fails even if our human love might.

"A Beautiful Mind" was an inspiring movie but for different reasons than I expected. It's about determination, overcoming great obstacles to succeed but most of all, I think it's about true love.

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IN ADDITION TO EVERYTHING ELSE...
Subject: A Beautiful Mind
Date: Sun, 07 Apr 2002
From: Ed Chinn

In addition to everything else written about the movie, it is also a powerful illustration of II Corinthians 12:9 - 10. Because God's power is revealed in our weaknesses, we can be "well content with weaknesses...distresses...with difficulties." In fact, finding contentment with one's weaknesses is often the key to success. For this reason, one of the best moments in "A Beautiful Mind" comes when Thomas King (Austin Pendleton), representing the Nobel prize committee, shows up. John Nash looks at him and then asks a student if King is really there! What a wonderful acceptance of a weakness. He had moved far beyond being threatened or intimidated by his delusions.

Many of the "voices" which influence our actions exist only in our head. If we can face that reality, accept it (and even occassionally nod or speak a greeting to the illusions!), we can go on with our lives. We don't have to give them control. Not only is this one of the best movies, it is one of the best sermons I've heard in years.

And, by the way, who cares if the movie mirrors the facts of John Nash's life? Do some people really not grasp the concept of art? Being unable to discern (or accept) the difference between the painting and the actual landscape is, in itself, delusional. The "truth" of art is in the way it helps us to see ourselves and our environment.

RESPONSE TO COMMENT BY NANCY
Subject: A_Beautiful_Mind
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002
From: GG

On the comment of Nancy Errebo. I must object to her saying how Psychiatric treatment is respectful. They zapped his brain and I'm sure not with his consent. I was in the Marines and they diagnosed me manic depressive I was taken to a hospital and given thorozene without my consent. That drug is like getting hit in your head with a sledgehammer. I can't imagine having electroshock therapy. That part of my life was and still is an embarrassing and puzzling part of my life and who's to say it didn't hinder my brain function since. As a society we have not learned what your diet can help or hinder brain function. The Hippocratic oath is to "First do no harm." The medical universities and colleges only have a few hours of nutritional studies in there programs. Why? Ask your doctor how much studies on nutritional studies he had. Its a shame that big business can so easily sell the ! public "big macs and fruitloops and donuts" and not think that it has an effect on our brain. I really felt for Nash when he was in that hospital and I'm glad that he survived that episode. Hollywood should make a movie about the injustice of the psychiatric field.

REAL VIDEO COMMENT
Subject: A_Beautiful_Mind Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002
From: J P

First off, David, thank you for running an amazing website. I truly enjoy the perspectives that your site offers on both pop and arthouse flicks.

With regards to "A Beautiful Mind", I think that consumers of the media tend to forget that the movie they are viewing is not reality, merely one person's preferred view of reality, at best. The movie cannot be seen with the idea that it is a documentary of John Nash's life, nor should it be. While they may find the glorifying of a man's life apocraphyl, I think they would be better served if they looked at the story being presented as just that: a story, rather than comparing and contrasting it to factual events.
I very much resonate with Ms. Wierstra's comments. The most refreshing thing about the movie was seeing a spouse who stood by their counterpart through all of it, "for better or for worse". Too often we see marriages splitting up due to stress of one form or another, and we excuse it as being acceptable due to X, Y, or Z. If A Beautiful Mind presented an unreal, fantastical view of the truth, is there really a better fantasy than Unceasing Love?

As to your use of RealVideo for commentary, my own access to internet limits me to not having audio ability (work or library). Your comments are insightful and interesting, I would hate to not be able to enjoy your site due to my internet limitations. Perhaps a transcript could be provided, or perhaps limiting the RealVid choices to being supplimentary, rather than a replacement, for you usual reviews?
Thanks again for running an interesting and wonderful site,
JP

CHRISTLIKE LOVE
Subject: A Beautiful Mind
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002
From: Nancy

Thank you for the insight regarding the Christlike love of Alicia for John. I think that Hansen was also Christlike in his forgiveness, love, and acceptance of his former rival.

Also, I appreciate the respectful portrayal of the psychiatric treatment that John Nash received. Psychiatric medications, which are among the major medical achievements of the 20th century, have helped so many people. Yet, as A Beautiful Mind demonstrates, human beings (spouses, friends, doctors) embodying Christ's love can create miracles. Nancy Errebo

BEAUTFUL MIND, BEAUTIFUL LIE
Subject: Beautiful Mind
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002
From: Jeff

Let's be honest-- this film is NOT about the real John Nash! As stated in the NY TIMES:

He was notorious among his colleagues for his antisocial temperament and his predilection for cruel put-downs and dangerous practical jokes.

Before he married Alicia, with whom he had a son named John, he fathered another child, also named John, with a woman named Eleanor Stiers, and abandoned both mother and child to poverty. He formed a number of intense, apparently sexual bonds with other men, and he lost his security clearance and his position at the RAND Corporation after he was arrested for soliciting sex in a men's room in Santa Monica, Calif. When his illness became intractable and his behavior intolerable, Alicia divorced him. (They remarried last June.)

None of this has made it to the screen. Worse, the intellectual and political context that would throw both Mr. Nash's genius and his madness into high relief has been obliterated. "A Beautiful Mind" opens with a speech by the fictitious Professor Helinger (Judd Hirsch), declaring that American mathematicians, having played an important part in the defeat of Nazi Germany, must now turn their attention to defeating Soviet Communism. of this Article ------ Now THAT would have been a movie!

BEAUTIFUL MIND NOT HURT BY CHANGES
Subject: Beautiful Mind
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002
From: "J. Mike Mansfield"

I did not know that the Nashes had been divorced and remarried nor about his having fathered an illegitimate child. I do not find those facts to influence my opinion of this film, though, David. This was a love story; and it was a reminder of me not only that "love never fails;" but also that ".....love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of one's house, it would be utterly scorned."
Mike J. Michael Mansfield,
Pastor Mt. Holly United Methodist Church
804 Mt. Holly Road Fairdale KY 40118
502-366-5781
My Yahoo Calendar http://calendar.yahoo.com/revjmike
Feed the hungry in the world. Visit "The Hunger Site" each day. http://www.thehungersite.com/

A BEAUTIFUL MIND COMMENTS
Subject: Beautiful Mind
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002
From: Shelley

I loved this movie! I took away from it a very deep meaning (probably deeper than the writer intended), but nonetheless, a meaning I think, that we as Christians can relate to. I saw the woman (John Nash's wife) as the "Jesus figure" in a way. She provided John with the unconditional love that allowed him to heal - to ignore the things that were not real in his life. These "demons" in John's life are like temptation in our lives. We see and feel temptation every day, but we must CHOOSE to ignore it and have faith that Jesus is not leading us astray and that HIS way of viewing the world is BEST. John had the faith to believe his wife in that the things he saw were not real...therefore he found TRUTH and chose to live it!

Response: I agree with your insightful comments. Thank you. -David

AMAZING MOVIE
Subject: A_Beautiful_Mind
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002
From: "Harry Diehl"

I just finished seeing the movie and I thought it was amazing. Having an autistic child was one of the humbling experiences the Lord used to bring me to Him. Because my son has been autistic for 35 years and still is very disabled, I cam empathize with John Nash very much. My son is also brilliant in many ways, yet because of no communication skills, his mind is imprisoned by his own body. Through all of his problems, my son does know Jesus as his savior, and we all have the certain hope of his complete healing eventually. Brilliant acting jobs by both Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. I hope they both get Oscars.
Harry Diehl

Response: May God bless you and your son. -David

FILM AS A DEPARTURE FROM NASH'S TRUE STORY
Subject: A_Beautiful_Mind
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002
From: Sue Sailhamer

While I really liked the film and its portrayal of the triumph of love to help Nash regain his life, I was extremely disappointed to learn that this feel good ending was pure fiction. Nash's wife divorced him years earlier. He fathered a child out of wedlock before he was married. I realize that movies combine characters and rearrange facts. But the best part of A beautiful Mind is not even close to the truth.
Sue Sailhamer

Response: Yes, film and story telling is like that. Books can be too. Just enjoy the film as story with a great lesson based on a true story. Besides, they remarried in their senior years. It is a real love story. -David

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