From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experiences it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery once he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over this tragedy, and finally, late in life, received the Nobel Prize.
In transforming the life of the brilliant mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. into a muzzy, triumph-of-the-human-spirit Hollywood movie, Ron Howard and his collaborators have stripped it of anything that might present the audience with the slightest discomfort or reason to think about the documented facts concerning Mr. Nash. On its own terms, though, the movie succeeds in dramatizing Mr. Nash's mental illness and, to a lesser extent, his mathematical insights. Russell Crowe's performance is honest and focused, but the movie's conceptions of intellectual life and human character are ultimately so simplistic, so deeply mistrustful of the audience's intelligence that any chance for genuine insight is squandered. – A. O. Scott
2001-12-21 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of A Beautiful Mind