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A Beautiful Mind

He saw the world in a way no one could imagine 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from A Beautiful Mind
Review: Is this review real? Discuss.

John Nash (Crowe) wanted to be special, to discover a completely new principle of mathematics that would mark him as a great achiever. While others concentrated on passing exams he pursued his 'original idea'. With his tutors exasperated, Nash was mentally stretched to breaking point, only to be brought back from the brink by his empathetic room-mate: no one could imagine a better foil than Charles (Bettany). Ultimately Nash finds his 'Nash Equilibrium' famous to maths and economics students the world over.

Ron Howard deals with Nash's paranoid schizophrenia by telling the story from his perspective. Throughout the film you see what Nash believes, building to an uncomfortable feeling of shared loss as the assumptions and memories you have formed from his experiences are shattered. Apparently heading towards a spy thriller, Howard suddenly reins back the narrative to a process of mental rehabilitation and the effects of this on Nash's stability and on his family. Reality as defined by others is harsh and unpredictable, his own humanity full of urgency and purpose. Nash is left with difficult choices, leading at last to a reluctant acceptance of his condition.

The subject matter is tragic and disturbing, but there's humour too, and in the scenes of an elderly John Nash - comfortable with his life weaving in and out of the generally accepted 'real world' - a feeling of hope and even triumph over adversity. There are many good performances, but Crowe's stands apart. Fiery and combative we expect, but Crowe shows he is also capable of exploring the further reaches of human consciousness. Nash is a Russell Crowe character you can care about.

Applying the words 'starring Russell Crowe' and 'intelligent, disturbing and compelling' to the same film seems unreal. It's true in my world.

Stuart Jarvis

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Autumn Term (35mm)
2002/2003 Autumn Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)