32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Film for a Beautiful Mind,
This review is from: A Beautiful Mind [DVD]  (DVD)
I first saw the film, not at the cinema, but when my parent's rented the DVD. My mother, at the time studying for a nursing degree, was encouraged to watch the film by one of her tutors, who apparently told her it was an "excellent portrayal of a schizophrenic mind". I think this is testimony to the skill with which Crowe, especially, plays brilliant but troubled mathematician John Nash.
The film garnered four Academy Awards, and, had it not been for the competition from the first of the Lord of the Rings films, this number would almost certainly have been larger. In particular, there is conjecture that Crowe's notorious bad-temper at an earlier ceremony cost him his award for best actor in a leading role. In my view, his portrayal of John Nash deserved the award, rather than Denzel Washington's appearance as a corrupt Narcotics cop in Training Day. Certainly, Crowe was spot on with the mannerisms and temperament of a schizophrenia sufferer, playing the part with a tension of volatility with was felt throughout the film.
Howard's direction was, as we have come to expect, wonderful. Indeed, it won him an Academy Award, a surprise, as many critics had tipped Peter Jackson to storm to victory that year. Howard draws brilliant performances from each of the cast, and, despite the dream-like nature of many of the sequences in the film, there's an almost heightened sense of realism.
There isn't a poor performance to pick. Each supporting actor and actress gives a smashing account of themselves. The sinister government agent in black suit and hat, who's name eludes me right now, is brilliant throughout. Nash's loyal colleague's Sol and Bender put in laudable shows. Admittedly, there's not much strenuous acting to be done, but they do whatever they have to do, and they do it well. However, one actress stands out - and for this she was awarded an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role. She gives a truly believable show as Alicia, Nash's wife, and, while it is difficult to see why she would want to marry Nash in the first place, her performance as the suffering but loyal friend is excellent. The connection between the two is brilliant and, at times, tear-inducing - a quality which I very much admire in a film.
There has been some criticism for screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, for his depiction of Nash. It is true, that much of the more controversial points of Nash's life are omitted from the film (Nash's illegitmate child with another woman, cheating on his wife, being just one example) but the aim of the film, rather than being a biopic, is to demonstrate the strength of the human spirit. A Beautiful Mind shows that though Nash suffered from obstructive personality problems, and eventually mental illness, he was still an inspired thinker who won a Nobel Prize, and he still had a loving wife and son. Goldsman isn't trying to hide the bad aspects of Nash's character, they just don't contribute to the film's theme.
What's more, this film has an effect on the watcher. It does inspire and uplift. It shows us the strength and determination of some people to succeed. And it shows us how love is ultimately the driving force behind everything good that happens in the world.
I think, for this reason, A Beautiful Mind deserves all of the praise it gets, and if I had my way, it would get more.
Furthermore, it deserves five stars in this review. Buy it.