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The novel by Silvia Nasar: A Beautiful Mind. Get the book from Amazon.com, Amazon.de or (Faber and Faber) from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr.
 

Get the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from Amazon.com, Amazon.de.


Gabor H. Wylie: Russell Crowe: A Life in Stories. ECW Press, 2001, 160 p. Get it from Amazon.com, Amazon.de.


Tim Ewbank, Stafford Hildred: Russell Crowe: The Biography. Carlton, 2001, 256 p. Get it from Amazon.com, Amazon.de.





A Beautiful Mind
Review of the film by Ron Howard with Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris
. Get it on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr.

Article added on September 19, 2002  
A Beautiful Mind received four Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards Ceremony on March 24, 2002: Ron Howard for Best Director, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard for Best Picture, Akiva Goldsman for the Best Adapted Writing and Jennifer Connelly as Best Supporting Actress. Russell Crowe was denied the second Oscar for Best Actor.
 
The dirt campaign against the film before the Oscar's ceremony has had no effect. The mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr., the Nobel Prize winner of 1994 who inspired the character of Russell Crowe, was accused of anti-Semitism and homosexuality. One thing however is true: in real life, the wife of Nash was separated from her husband whereas in the movie she always stays at her husband's side.
 
According to some sources, in 1956, Nash became romantically involved with a student named Alicia Narde, the character played by Jennifer Connelly. He dated her and a woman named Stier simultaneously for a while. In 1957, he married Alicia. Sylvia Nasar's biography, A Beautiful Mind: The Life Of The Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash, on which the film by Ron Howard is based, includes this excerpt from a letter Nash wrote in 1967: "The root of all evil, as far as my personal life is concerned, are Jews." The real John Nash had to confess on television that his anti-Semitic expressions were made in a psychotic phase in which he believed himself to be the emperor of the Antarctic.
 
Anyway, anyone looking for biographical accuracy in a Hollywood movie is misguided. Furthermore, movies are (or at least should be) an artistic expression and therefore take their liberties. It is also evident that nobody can truthfully recreate Nash's schizophrenia. What counts is the result of the director's and actors' efforts: Is it a great movie or not?
 
A Beautiful Mind is inspired by events in the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. (*1928), who made an astonishing discovery early in life and stood on the brink of international acclaim when his ascension was undermined by schizophrenia. However, he was able to overcome his illness and received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994.
 
Ron Howard's film begins in 1947 with the arrival of the socially awkward John Nash (Russell Crowe) at Princeton for graduate studies in mathematics. A man of humble origins who does not attend class, obsessed by the desire to find a truly original idea, Nash finds life difficult at the competitive Ivy League university.
 
When spending one night with classmates in a local hotel bar, his attention is caught by a blonde woman. The rivalry among the students for her leads him to write a paper on game theory - his original idea, which boldly contradicts Adam Smith, the father of modern economy.
 
Subsequently, Nash wins a coveted research and teaching post at MIT. Dissatisfied with this post, he is eager to play an important role in the rising Cold War, since science had been an important factor in winning the Second World War. Nash's wish is granted when the mysterious and shadowy William Parcher (Ed Harris) recruits him for a top-secret assignment cracking enemy codes for the Department of Defense.
 
Nash continues to work for the MIT and that is were one of his students, the beautiful and intelligent Alicia Larde (Jennifer Connelly) challenges him, the somewhat awkward professor. They marry. He continues to work for Parcher, but begins to fall into a world of delusions and obsessions. He is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He has to overcome this challenge with the help of his wife: "The only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart."
 
All this sounds like a conventional movie. However, not everything that we can see in the beginning and the middle of the film is the way it seems to be and not everybody is who he seems to be. Therefore, there are great surprises to come despite the fact that the film was shot in chronological order.
 
The most outstanding performance in A Beautiful Mind comes from Ed Harris as Crowe's boss in the Department of Defense. As for Russell Crowe, he remains an actor of a very rare intensity and ability to transform himself, not only from one film to another but also within a movie such as A Beautiful Mind. The longer the movie goes on, the better his acting gets. The way he ages forty-seven years, not only with the help of makeup, is remarkable. This was another Oscar-worthy performance. As for Jennifer Connelly as Best Supporting Actress: not an unmerited award although there were better supporting role performances in 2001.
 
Producer Brian Grazer and director Ron Howard cast Russell Crowe in the role of John Nash before his success with Gladiator. Grazer had been impressed by Crowe's performances in L.A. Confidential and The Insider.
 
Jennifer Connelly has previously worked with Grazer and Howard in their 1997 film Inventing the Abbotts. Connelly and Ed Harris have collaborated in Harris' 2000 masterpiece Pollock. Harris has previously worked with Grazer and Howard in Apollo 13, a collaboration which had led to an Oscar nomination for the actor. Christopher Plummer (Nash's doctor, Dr. Rosen, in A Beautiful Mind) has starred with Crowe in The Insider.
 
By the way, during pre-production, Howard and executive producer Todd Hallowell invited the real-life John Nash to lecture them on his work. Later, Nash was invited on the set to watch Crowe act. They talked together and Crowe learned "very valuable things from just standing in front of him". Connelly met with Alicia Nash, who shared her memories with the actress.
 
More film/DVD reviews in English and German.

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.