ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  ron howard

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  drama

LENGTH  -  135 minutes

RELEASED  -  21 december 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  universal pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  a beautiful mind

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
a beautiful mind - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from a beautiful mind at

buy the dvd from a beautiful at

the story of john nash, diagnosed as paranoid-schizophrenic, goes on to win a nobel prize for work on game theory.

robert redford was one of the directors originally considered for this film. ron howard eventually went on to win the best directing oscar.


picture from a beautiful mind

picture from a beautiful mind

picture from a beautiful mind


three out of four possible stars

What could have easily been melodramatic and weepy film has turned out to be a success not only in the acting department, but also in the area of good storytelling. Though whether this picture's accomplishment is due more to its director or its lead star could be an area for debate. Perhaps it's the combination of Ron Howard's uncanny ability to pick good scripts and Russell Crowe's talent for portraying his characters with realistic emotion and believability. That's a lot of compliments for one sentence, but this film deserves more than a pat on the back. The intriguing story this film had to rely on is probably the base for all of its successes script-wise and in the acting department.

The man this film is based on, mathematics theorist John Forbes Nash, has had a very interesting life, though that in and of itself is not a guarantee for a successful film. And from what's been circulated about Nash's actual life, the film focuses more on the human side of his recovery from schizophrenia rather than the medical side. Apparently, in real life, Nash had a lot of drugs pumped into him for an extended period of time, and it was those drugs that allowed him (and probably still allows him today) to live a normal life. But focusing more on nash's human interactions seems now that it was a good choice for the film. Although the actual history of john nash may have been rewritten somewhat for the movie's dramatic appeal, the basic story, i suspect, is the same.

But it doesn't hurt that Russell Crowe was cast in the role of John Nash. Continually surprising his audiences, Crowe has proved again in this film that he is an actor capable of taking on very different film roles and filling them with equally impressive performances. From playing an angry cop in L.A. Confidential to a buffed up gladiator a few years later, Crowe has chosen diverse film roles that have stretched his abilities, but also have shown how adept he is at inhabiting the characters he chooses to play. It is hard to imagine what type of man Russell is in real life, because of how different each of his performances are.

Crowe does not have the only good performance in this film though. Jennifer Connelly played a strong character. Over the past decade, Connelly has played several roles in small budget films, and she hasn't always received the acclaim she's deserved from those performances. But in playing the role of Nash's wife, Alicia, Connelly has proven again that she can hold her own against Crowe's talent and that she can bring something unique herself to the screen. Though it should be said that both Jennifer and Russell have the ability, in their acting, to create a lot of visible emotion, without having to recite a dissertation or two. Both are very intense actors and it seems their talents combined to create a strong dramatic element for this film.

Though some of that credit should probably go to the director. A veteran of the film biz, Ron Howard has been one of the few directors in hollywood to get good performances from his actors in nearly every one of the films he's directed. Perhaps it's his long association with hollywood, but his experience in front of the camera has prepared him well for a life behind it. The different elements of this film, acting, directing, story, really add up to a great piece of filmmaking. But much of the credit should go to Russell Crowe's performance. He's nothing less than genius in this role and lets the audience see it in how believable he's able to make his character look onscreen. It's not so much the make-up or clothing that makes the performance, but how Crowe makes the audience believe that he's John Nash.

Indeed, the only criticism to be found with the film deals not with the acting or the directing, but in the story. Perhaps it was something that landed on the cutting room floor, but the love story between Connelly and Crowe's characters did not seem as strong has it should have been. These two actors had to work a little harder to bring out the emotion they did in the script. If not for the strong performances in the film, the love story might have felt unbelievable. There are not that many scenes that show the two falling in love. The story's one main flaw is that it wasn't always clear why Alicia was in love with John Nash. Crowe's character was just so weird sometimes that it was unclear why Alicia was in love with him.

But this film's shortcomings are pretty few and far between. It's an accomplishment in acting and story, and a good job on the cinematography doesn't hurt the mix either. Small touches in camera angle and composition only add to the film's other successes. And sticking Ed Harris and Paul Bettany (who this author believes has a big future in film) into your film doesn't hurt either. It seems that the right elements came together at the right time to make this film something more than a biopic about a mathematician. Talent in filmmaking here has created a film with an especially long list of positive attributes.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs universal pictures 2001
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact