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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 3 | January 28, 2007|


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Masterpiece Movies

Review by Shamma M. Raghib

Director: Ron Howard
Based on the book by: Sylvia Nasar
Cast: John Nash (Russell Crowe), Parcher (Ed Harris) Alicia (Jennifer Connelly) Sol (Adam Goldberg)
Running time: 135 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
Campus Rating: 9.2/10

We are introduced to John Nash in the opening sequence, a young man from West Virginia who is a mathematical genius but socially inept. It's the late 1940's, and Nash (along with several other mathematics prodigies) is attending Princeton University. While several of Nash's contemporaries are satisfied using their cognitive skills to aid the U.S. war effort, the solitary young man is intent on creating something revolutionary; a concept or ideal so profound that it will immortalize his name alongside those of Einstein and Darwin.

Nash occasionally associates with a mocking crew of equally ingenious students but his only true friend is Charles, an English roommate who forces the uptight youth to open his perspectives a little. Nash's skills quickly become well known, and he is eventually invited to the Pentagon to help crack a stunningly difficult German code. It's during this visit that Nash catches the eye of the shadowy William Parcher, a high-level government operative who realizes how valuable the young man could be to national security. Nash's social alienation and lack of personal ties is precisely what Parcher is looking for, so the first signs of trouble logically arise when Nash unexpectedly begins courting a lovely student Alicia. Several scenes later, Nash is receiving the Nobel Award in Economics and is in medication for his schizophrenia. What is most striking is the contrast between his want and his inability to be social and a loving husband at the same time.

Many actors have played a handicapped role, but nothing quite matches the performance of Russel Crow as Nash in A Beautiful Mind! I say his acting here is nothing like that in Gladiator and Gladiator was an awesome movie to watch! The director eases us through the minds of a genius schizophrenic, sometimes making me wish I was one, and sometimes making my pity Nash. The brilliant way director Howard layers the intelligent sequences with Nash's rapidly increasing schizophrenia is nothing short of cinematic magic. Whenever I was sure of what's going on in Nash's mind, the director deftly twists me in another direction, and the movie follows each fascinating path to its very satisfying conclusion. Even in the most seemingly unimportant of scenes, Ron Howard manages to keep something compelling on the screen. And this along with the ghostly atmosphere degrading along with Sir Nash's schizo-situation, is truly amazing till the very end.



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