There are two kinds of biographical motion pictures, films that choose to dive deep into the psyche of a particular character and then there are films that choose to represent the events that went on in a character’s life. However, most of the films aspire to do both of those things despite the limitations that they might bring in terms of narrative coherency and character-driven drama. In a world full of films that manage to botch that aspect, A Beautiful Mind by Ron Howard turned out to be a fantastic addition to the biopic genre that genuinely captured the essence of a flawed yet incredibly intellectual man.
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The Movie Review
This film is a biography based on the popular book of the same name. A Beautiful Mind tells the story of John Nash, an asocial mathematician who seems to be somewhere on the Atypical Spectrum. In fact, Nash’s introverted personality causes a lot of his life to spiral out of control for most of the film.
However, this brilliant mathematician finally gets his big break, to work for something meaningful and bigger than ever. Though the problem arises when he realizes that this particular task is causing him more harm than good, and he finds his life once again spiraling out of control unlike ever before.
Biopics are often times very weird to watch, mostly because they seem to romanticize characters that were just human beings like the rest of us. Every human in this world has a story to tell, and all of our stories are worth being heard.
Yet in a way, we are all scared of our identities being presented in the wrong way and that is what most filmmakers are scared of as well when creating a biography. However, director Ron Howard doesn’t shy away from showcasing the flaws of John Nash as a character and making Russel Crowe truly dive into the character’s mindset and personality, while also altering the events slightly to create a more magical and fictional version of this particular emotional journey of triumph.
Russel Crowe is a magnificent actor, that much I can say with utmost sincerity. He’s an actor that truly encapsulates the essence of every role he takes on and makes sure that the audience understands what’s going on in the character’s head without saying a single line of dialogue. His Oscar-nominated performance is an example of how big of an impact performance can make on a film.
The movie heavily relies on Crowe’s ability to carry every single scene he’s in. Now while Crowe’s performance was fantastic, it was Jennifer Connelly that came out of nowhere and swooped the audiences with her INCREDIBLY AMAZING portrayal of Alicia Nash. She was so good in fact, that she literally took home every single-best supporting actress award during that season, including the Oscars.
We can’t talk about A Beautiful Mind without mentioning Roger Deakins’ talent for finding the most poetic, visually visceral, and beautiful shots in any film he works on. A Beautiful Mind is a beautiful film not just in its story content but also in its visual fidelity due to Deakins’ handiwork. He’s just such a fantastic artist when it comes to the art of photography that his presence certainly elevated this film’s aesthetic.
The film has a fantastic use of color in it, from featuring warmer tones like yellow and orange to blues and dark greens that thematically represent how the characters are feeling in any given scene.
The Bottom Line
In my opinion, what makes A Beautiful Mind such a fantastic and reflective journey is the combination of all of those events into something greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a film that steps boldly out of the typical biography design while still focusing on the characters and their journeys. It features a glistening aesthetic that Roger Deakins’ mastery in visuals effects more than anything. Yet ultimately, it was Ron Howard’s choice of making a film so deeply full of poetic beauty and an element of fictionalized character drama that made this film so wonderfully refreshing.