By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Films have depicted mental illness ever since Olivia de Havilland starred in The Snake Pit (1948). After that, there have been films like The Three Faces of Eve (1957), which dealt with Multiple Personality Disorder, and Silver Linings Playbook (2012), starring Jennifer Lawrence. Suffering from a mental disorder might be frightening, but there is still a sense of intangible beauty associated with going against the norm. John Nash definitely defied convention with his contributions to math and economics even though he suffered from schizophrenia. Ron Howard masterfully adapts A Beautiful Mind into what eventually became the Best Picture winner for 2001.
This film features an Oscar-winning performance from Jennifer Connelly, a brilliantly adapted screenplay by Akiva Goldsmith, and what is perhaps Ron Howard’s greatest achievement as a director. It is a shame that Russell Crowe did not win the Oscar for playing John Nash, but he still excelled in his portrayal of Nash, who was actually still alive when this film was released in 2001. Nash’s legacy lives on in this film even after his death in 2015.
The adjective “beautiful” describes this film not because it has the glamour of a stylish Hollywood musical, like Moulin Rouge! (2001), but because it reveals the universal fact that beauty exists everywhere. The notion that a tortured soul can have a brilliant mind challenges generally accepted views on beauty, and states that all audiences can interpret what they view as beautiful. A Beautiful Mind manages to take controversial subject matter, and create a work of art.
A Beautiful Mind is much more than just a Best Picture winner. It combines math and science with art by creating a very unique juxtaposition between all three of those abstract concepts. The usage of mathematical equations and scientific knowledge in beautiful ways reveal the fundamental fact that anything can be artistic. Such a combination would not appear again in film until the release of The Theory of Everything in 2014. John Nash might be gone, but his contributions to the world will never be forgotten, and this film celebrates his beautiful mind.
A Beautiful Mind (2001) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever there are math equations on chalkboards
Take a Drink: whenever John Nash does something anti-social
Drink a Shot: during every scene involving schizophrenia, mental illness, and hallucinations