A Beautiful Mind (2001)A review by Shlomoh Sherman
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Directed by: Ron Howard
Produced by: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Sylvia Nasar (book)
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
Plot: After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.
Genres: Biography - Drama
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, sexual content and a scene of violence
Official Sites: Universal [United States]
Release Date: January 4, 2002 (USA)
Also Known As: Una mente brillante
Filming Locations: Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Runtime: 135 min
Production Co: Universal Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Imagine Entertainment
This film purports to be a biographical sketch about the reknowned mathematical genius, John Nash [Russel Crowe]. It traces his career from his student college days through his career as a brilliant man of math. During his tenure as a university math instructor he is contacted by the United States Dept of Defense and asked to study special secret codes transmitted by the Soviets to their agents in the U.S.A.
At the height of his involvement with a special secret agent of the Defense Dept [Ed Harris], Nash encounters a crisis where his very life is at stake after an attempt is made on his life by a Soviet agent. Nash rushes home to tell his wife [Jennifer Connelly] about his involvement with the government agency, and it is at this point that the movie audience is let in on the secret that the entire affair with the defense agency is nothing more than a paranoid delusion. The mathematically beautiful mind of the arrogant John Forbes Nash, Jr. has slipped into an advanced case of schizophrenia.
From here the film details his struggle with the disease from which he obviously never completely recovered. Instead he learned to "live with it", oftentimes knowing that the scenes and people he was witnessing were all only in his mind.
I will not reveal more of the film since many of you reading this will most likely see the film. Everybody already knows that it is nominated for an Academy Award.
What I will say about the film though are several things that it omits regarding the life and character of Nash. And I believe that these are sins of omission.
For one thing, the film never mentions Nash's bisexuality. Rather it shows the story of a man deeply in romantic love with his wife. And by the way, in real life, Nash's wife was from El Salvador. There is nothing in Jennifer Connelly's performance that gives any hint of her being Hispanic.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this film, and the one aspect that will probably prevent it from winning any awards, is the complete omission of the fact that Nash was a nasty anti-semite. I doubt that Jewish Hollywood will tollerate such an individual being idolized as a great person regardless of how brilliant he may have been as a mathematician.
There is also the additional problem of Russell Crowe's recent obnoxious public behavior that may stand in the way of the film's success. By that I mean that even though it has become a box office success, the negative aspects that I mention in this review may permenantly overshadow its excellent acting and direction.
The following is from the Drudge Report of Tuesday, March 05, 2002 found at http://www.drudgereport.com/mattbm1.htm
OSCAR VOTERS PAUSE OVER 'BEAUTIFUL MIND'; NASH 'JEW BASHING' LEFT OUT OF FILM
When Academy voters factor in how the famous mathematician is an anti-Semite, will the Oscar votes add up for UNIVERSALDREAMWORKS at the end of the night?
LOS ANGELES -- Producers of the Oscar nominated film A BEAUTIFUL MIND quietly left out all references to John Nash's anti-Semitic views, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
But in recent days, as final voting for OSCAR approaches, some Academy members are discovering shocking Jew-bashing passages found in the book on which the movie is based!
"Why am I voting for this Jew hater?" a veteran Academy member said earlier this week before voting. "I am a Jew! I feel sick to my stomach."
Jew Bashing scenes found in the book "A Beautiful Mind: The Life of the Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash" have been completely scrubbed from the film, directed by Ron Howard and staring Russell Crowe -- even though actor Crowe's picture is featured on the paperback of the biography.
"The root of all evil, as far as my personal life is concerned (life history) are Jews," John Nash wrote in a letter in 1967. [Noted on page 326 of BEAUTIFUL MIND.]
Author Sylvia Nasar's repeated references to Nash's feeling towards Jews were deliberately left off the screen.
"We didn't want to go there," a production source said. "This is a love story."
OSCAR Ballots must be received by March 19, and the race is on to stop the spread of the damning Nash quotes, which may thwart the film's chances. [MIND received 8 nominations, including Best Picture, Director and Actor.]
Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who won best adapted screenplay from the WGA last week, and is a Jew himself, left out Nash's direct opposition to the Jewish state of Israel.
Writes Nasar: "Before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, [Nash] explained, he was a left-wing Palestinian Arab refugee, a member of the PLO, and a refugee making a "g indent" in Israel's border, petitioning Arab nations to protect him from 'falling under the power of the Israeli state.'"
Later when Nash became paranoid and embraced all sorts of strange delusions, he wrote "letters to Newman and others addressed 'Jewboy'. He became obsessed with the state of Israel and talked about 'Krypto-Zionist conspiracies.'"
Producers who also wiped out Nash's homosexual past for the film were cognizant that the chances of winning Oscar gold would be lessened if their film's protagonist was a basher of a religion that is disproportionately represented in the Academy voting pool.
Director Ron Howard and Co. apparently opted to create a composite schizophrenic whose illness would not offend the voting public.
Return To The Reviews Index Page
Return To The Site Index Page