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A Beautiful Mind (2001)
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Review Date: December 20, 2001
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Producers: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer
Actors:
Russell Crowe
Jennifer Connelly
Ed Harris
Plot:
Based on the true life of a brilliant mathematician named John Nash, this film presents us with the man's life from the day that he got into Princeton University through to his brilliant discovery, his secretive work for the government, his schizophrenia, his social inadequacies, his love for a woman, and his life to this day in time.
Critique:
A beautiful movie? You bet! Strange how a film could just start from a pretty basic angle, the one described in the plot lowdown above, and slowly begin to pull you into its world, engage you in its characters, and ultimately, captivate you completely by the film's end. As some of you may already know, I ain't one to break down in movies, but this baby had me chocking back the tears on more than one occasion. Damn you, Nash! So what did it for me in this film? Well, I guess you have to look at the entire production and to be honest, most everything just hit the right notes. The setup to the movie is a good one, the premise intriguing, the pace, surprisingly agile and to the point, the mood, not too "heavy-handed", the directing, just right, the score, vivid and inspiring, the writing and the dialogue, impressive and believable respectively and the acting...boy oh boy, Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly both deliver in spades and will certainly be awarded for their amazing performances. Crowe is apparently ready to give Tom Hanks a run for his money when it comes to consecutive Oscar nominations (Russell was nominated in 1999 for THE INSIDER and for GLADIATOR in 2000). Connelly is no spring chicken herself, but it's nice to see her finally starring in a mass-appeal film which allows her to spread the word on her solid acting chops to an even wider audience. You go, girl! And ultimately, it's the emotion between these two characters, the chemistry demonstrated on the screen, the undeniable love that one person can feel for another, that drives this movie to that greater level. I have to admit that I was technically enjoying the movie up until the halfway point, but I honestly couldn't say that I was expecting a much deeper involvement.

But the film shifts into extremely high gear once we cross that point, and every other scene after that, pulled me further into its mind. Credit goes out to both the director and the writer of this film for creating that sort of engaging emotional progression, and even more so, to the actors who deliver their characters in full three dimensions, with plenty of humanity in tow. And if you're wondering how anyone could really enjoy a film about a boring ol' mathematician, well, believe you me...I expected to be dulled to bits by this bio-flick, but the truth is that the movie really isn't about math or school or some government conspiracy. As corny as it sounds...it's about love, people! It's about a human being who despite being brilliant in one area of his life, is seriously incapacitated when it comes to other basic social functions. It's also about loving someone unconditionally, even with their faults, about helping those whom you cherish most, about developing enough trust to believe in someone and about the real power of love in your life. Yeah, even though this dude's a genius, he simply cannot do it all by himself. He needs help. Some people have greater abilities then others in certain fields, but they just aren't able to live a fully complete life, without the assistance, the love and the uncompromising dedicated support of people who love them for who they are. This is an uplifting story which manages to achieve the rare balance of being able to make people laugh, make people cry, make people think and make people feel, all in one movie. Inspirational to be sure, tightly-wound and secure with outstanding performances, this film is likely to please audiences all over the place. It's got a universal message with a big heart: love is king, ya'll!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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