A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Dir: Ron Howard
This is my second Russell Crowe film in two days… this time he’s not singing, but it’s still quite miserable!
‘A Beautiful Mind’ is loosely based on the true story of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. Crowe plays Nash, whose promising career was sidetracked by serious mental illness, and the film shows this aspect of his life, how it affected him (albeit dramatised) and the serious effects on his wife, played by Jennifer Connelly.
As with most well made films about mental illness, it is often very difficult to watch, and I had been warned of this. Nash suffers from severe paranoid schizophrenia, and at one point is treated with insulin shock therapy, which induces convulsions, and though the scene is short it’s never a nice thing to see depicted in film.
Apparently the film was criticised for how much it diverged from actual events, omitting quite a lot that may have alienated the audience from sympathising with the main character so much. However, just considering what was set in front of me as the final film, I can see why that might have been done, it would be a very different film if you couldn’t like the lead.
Ron Howard directed, and Mr Howard has a very hit and miss slate when it comes to the films he’s directed, though when he gets it right he usually makes quite an impact, and with this he won the Academy Awards for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’. It’s not difficult to see why, with a good script from interesting source material, very good performances (I particularly enjoyed Paul Bettany as the best friend), and beautiful cinematography from Roger Deakins, everything adds up.