It may have taken me half my lifetime, but I finally sat down to watch A Beautiful Mind, which won the Best Picture award in 2001. Russell Crowe appeared in back to back best pictures, having previous been the lead in 2000’s Gladiator.
As solid as A Beautiful Mind is, the pace is slower than molasses and I feel lost somewhere in the hype of Ron Howard’s great biography is the award winning performance of Jennifer Connelly. As good as Crowe is as John Nash, a Nobel Prize winner for mathematics, the entire picture gets a breath of fresh air when Connelly’s character Alicia comes into the story.
(spoilers) One of the biggest drawbacks for me, one which I did not see coming, is Nash’s storyline about being an American spy was all a lie. I actually believed he was interacting with Parcher (Ed Harris) and was deeply involved in cracking codes for the United States military. I understood that Nash had some mental issues, however I did not expect the story to turn so drastically.
All of the nonsense made sense when it was all said and done. Nash’s story, as unconventional as it was, is truly inspiring. One of the brightest mathematical minds to ever live had his personal demons and those thoughts cost him personally and professionally. His courage to overcome these obstacles and try his best to achieve his goals and live as normal as possible is what made this a great story.
I can understand that A Beautiful Mind won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. When compared to the other nominees for Best Picture in 2001, even I question how on Earth this particular film walked away with the statue. Personally I would have gone with any one of the other selections, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, In the Bedroom, or Gosford Park (which I haven’t seen yet). No offence to Ron Howard, Crowe, or Connelly, I just didn’t feel this movie deserved to be remembered as one of the best all-time.
To quote the great John Nash himself, he is an acquired taste, much like A Beautiful Mind. 5/10