A Beautiful Mind (film)

A Beautiful Mind (film)

Overview
A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American drama
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, but officially the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel , is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics, generally regarded as one of the...

. The film was directed by Ron Howard
Ron Howard
Ronald William "Ron" Howard is an American actor, director, and producer. He came to prominence as a child actor, playing Opie Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show for eight years, and later the teenaged Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days for six years...

 and written by Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
Akiva J. Goldsman from Walker Valley, New York is an American screenwriter and film producer. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture....

. It was inspired by a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-nominated 1998 book of the same name
A Beautiful Mind (book)
A Beautiful Mind is an unauthorized biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University...

 by Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar is a German-born American economist and author, best known for her biography of John Forbes Nash, A Beautiful Mind.- Early life and history :...

. The film stars Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

, along with Ed Harris
Ed Harris
Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

, Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Lynn Connelly is an American film actress, who began her career as a child model. She appeared in magazine, newspaper and television advertising, before making her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America...

, Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany is an English actor. He has appeared in a wide variety of films, including A Knight's Tale, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code...

 and Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

.

The story begins in the early years of a young prodigy named John Nash. Early in the film, Nash begins developing paranoid schizophrenia and endures delusion
Delusion
A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological...

al episodes while painfully watching the loss and burden his condition brings on his wife and friends.

The film opened in US cinemas on December 21, 2001.
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Encyclopedia
A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American drama
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, but officially the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel , is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics, generally regarded as one of the...

. The film was directed by Ron Howard
Ron Howard
Ronald William "Ron" Howard is an American actor, director, and producer. He came to prominence as a child actor, playing Opie Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show for eight years, and later the teenaged Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days for six years...

 and written by Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
Akiva J. Goldsman from Walker Valley, New York is an American screenwriter and film producer. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture....

. It was inspired by a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-nominated 1998 book of the same name
A Beautiful Mind (book)
A Beautiful Mind is an unauthorized biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University...

 by Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar is a German-born American economist and author, best known for her biography of John Forbes Nash, A Beautiful Mind.- Early life and history :...

. The film stars Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

, along with Ed Harris
Ed Harris
Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

, Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Lynn Connelly is an American film actress, who began her career as a child model. She appeared in magazine, newspaper and television advertising, before making her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America...

, Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany is an English actor. He has appeared in a wide variety of films, including A Knight's Tale, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code...

 and Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

.

The story begins in the early years of a young prodigy named John Nash. Early in the film, Nash begins developing paranoid schizophrenia and endures delusion
Delusion
A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological...

al episodes while painfully watching the loss and burden his condition brings on his wife and friends.

The film opened in US cinemas on December 21, 2001. It grossed over $313 million worldwide, and went on to win four Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best Leading Actor, Best Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Score. It was well-received by critics, but has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash's life.

Plot


In 1947, John Nash (Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

) arrives at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

. He is co-recipient, with Martin Hansen (Josh Lucas
Josh Lucas
Josh Lucas is an American actor. He has appeared in many films, including Glory Road, A Beautiful Mind, and Poseidon.-Early life:...

), of the prestigious Carnegie Scholarship for mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

. At a reception he meets a group of other promising math and science graduate students, Richard Sol (Adam Goldberg
Adam Goldberg
Adam Charles Goldberg is an American actor, director, producer, and musician.-Early life:Goldberg was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Donna and Earl Goldberg, a former lifeguard. His father is Jewish and his mother is a "lapsed" Roman Catholic of Irish, French, and German descent...

), Ainsley (Jason Gray-Stanford), and Bender (Anthony Rapp
Anthony Rapp
Anthony Deane Rapp is an American stage and film actor and singer best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent in 1996 and later for reprising the role in the film version and the Broadway Tour of Rent in 2009...

). He also meets his roommate Charles Herman (Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany is an English actor. He has appeared in a wide variety of films, including A Knight's Tale, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code...

), a literature student, and an unlikely friendship begins.

Nash comes under increasing pressure to publish, both from the mathematics department chairman and in the form of rivalry with Hansen. But he refuses until he finds a truly original idea. His inspiration comes when he and his fellow graduate students discuss how to approach a group of women at a bar. Hansen quotes Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

 and advocates "every man for himself", but Nash argues that a cooperative approach would lead to better chances of success. This leads to a new concept of governing dynamics
Nash equilibrium
In game theory, Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his own strategy unilaterally...

 which Nash develops and publishes. On the strength of this he is offered an appointment at MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 where Sol and Bender join him.

Some years later, Nash is invited to the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 to crack
Cryptanalysis
Cryptanalysis is the study of methods for obtaining the meaning of encrypted information, without access to the secret information that is normally required to do so. Typically, this involves knowing how the system works and finding a secret key...

 encrypted
Encryption
In cryptography, encryption is the process of transforming information using an algorithm to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted information...

 enemy telecommunication. Nash is able to decipher the code mentally, to the astonishment of other codebreakers. He considers his regular duties at MIT uninteresting and beneath his talents, so he is pleased to be given a new assignment by the mysterious William Parcher (Ed Harris
Ed Harris
Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

) of the United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

, to look for patterns in magazines and newspapers in order to thwart a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 plot. Nash becomes increasingly obsessive about searching for these hidden patterns and believes he is followed when he delivers his results to a secret mailbox.

Meanwhile a student, Alicia Larde (Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Lynn Connelly is an American film actress, who began her career as a child model. She appeared in magazine, newspaper and television advertising, before making her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America...

), asks him to dinner, and the two fall in love. On a return visit to Princeton, Nash runs into his former roommate Charles and meets Charles' young niece Marcee (Vivien Cardone
Vivien Cardone
Vivien Elisabeth Cardone is an American actress. She is known for her role as Delia Brown on The WB's Everwood.-Early life:...

), whom he adores. With Charles' encouragement he proposes to Alicia and they marry.

Nash begins to fear for his life after witnessing a shootout between Parcher and Soviet agents. He tells Parcher that he wants to quit his special assignment but Parcher blackmails him into staying. While delivering a guest lecture at Harvard University, Nash attempts to flee from what appear to be foreign agents, but he is forcibly sedated and sent to a psychiatric facility. He believes the facility is run by the Soviets who are trying to extract information from him.

Nash's doctor, Dr. Rosen (Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

) tell Alicia that he has schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

 and that Charles, Marcee and Parcher only exist in Nash's imagination. Alicia investigates and finally confronts Nash with the unopened documents he had delivered to the secret mailbox. Nash is given a course of insulin shock therapy
Insulin shock therapy
Insulin shock therapy or insulin coma therapy was a form of psychiatric treatment in which patients were repeatedly injected with large doses of insulin in order to produce daily comas over several weeks...

 and eventually released. Frustrated with the side-effects
Adverse drug reaction
An adverse drug reaction is an expression that describes harm associated with the use of given medications at a normal dosage. ADRs may occur following a single dose or prolonged administration of a drug or result from the combination of two or more drugs...

 of the antipsychotic
Antipsychotic
An antipsychotic is a tranquilizing psychiatric medication primarily used to manage psychosis , particularly in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A first generation of antipsychotics, known as typical antipsychotics, was discovered in the 1950s...

 medication he is taking, he secretly stops taking it. But this causes a relapse and he meets Parcher again.

After an incident where Nash endangers his infant son and accidentally knocks Alicia and the baby to the ground, she flees the house in fear with their child. Nash steps in front of her car to prevent her from leaving. He tells Alicia, "She never gets old", referring to Marcee, who although years have passed since their first encounter, has remained exactly the same age and is still a little girl. With this, he finally accepts that although all three people seem real, they are in fact part of his hallucinations. Against Dr. Rosen's advice, Nash decides not to restart his medication, believing that he can deal with his symptoms in another way. Alicia decides to stay and support him in this.

Nash approaches his old friend and rival, Martin Hansen, now head of the Princeton mathematics department, who grants him permission to work out of the library and audit classes. Years pass and as Nash grows older he learns to ignore his hallucinations. Eventually he earns the privilege of teaching again.

In 1994, Nash is honored by his fellow professors for his achievement in mathematics, and goes on to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his revolutionary work on game theory
Game theory
Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others...

. The movie ends as Nash and Alicia leaving the auditorium in Stockholm and Nash sees Charles, Marcee and Parcher standing to one side and watching him.

Cast

  • Russell Crowe
    Russell Crowe
    Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

     as John Forbes Nash, Jr., A mathematical genius who is obsessed with finding an original idea to ensure his legacy.
  • Ed Harris
    Ed Harris
    Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

     as William Parcher, a highly dedicated and forceful government agent for the Department of Defense. He recruits Nash to help fight Soviet spies.
  • Jennifer Connelly
    Jennifer Connelly
    Jennifer Lynn Connelly is an American film actress, who began her career as a child model. She appeared in magazine, newspaper and television advertising, before making her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America...

     as Alicia Nash, a later student of Nash who catches his interest.
  • Paul Bettany
    Paul Bettany
    Paul Bettany is an English actor. He has appeared in a wide variety of films, including A Knight's Tale, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code...

     as Charles Herman, Nash's cheerful, supportive roommate and best friend throughout graduate school.
  • Josh Lucas
    Josh Lucas
    Josh Lucas is an American actor. He has appeared in many films, including Glory Road, A Beautiful Mind, and Poseidon.-Early life:...

     as Martin Hansen, Nash's friendly rival from his graduate school years at Princeton. In the end, Hansen tells Nash that nobody wins, and they are at that point to consider each other as equals.
  • Adam Goldberg
    Adam Goldberg
    Adam Charles Goldberg is an American actor, director, producer, and musician.-Early life:Goldberg was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Donna and Earl Goldberg, a former lifeguard. His father is Jewish and his mother is a "lapsed" Roman Catholic of Irish, French, and German descent...

     as Sol, a friend of Nash's from Princeton University who is chosen, along with Bender, to work with him at MIT.
  • Anthony Rapp
    Anthony Rapp
    Anthony Deane Rapp is an American stage and film actor and singer best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent in 1996 and later for reprising the role in the film version and the Broadway Tour of Rent in 2009...

     as Bender, a friend of Nash's from Princeton University who is chosen, along with Sol, to work with him at MIT.
  • Vivien Cardone
    Vivien Cardone
    Vivien Elisabeth Cardone is an American actress. She is known for her role as Delia Brown on The WB's Everwood.-Early life:...

     as Marcee, Charles' young niece.
  • Christopher Plummer
    Christopher Plummer
    Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

     as Dr. Rosen, Nash's doctor at a psychiatric hospital.
  • Judd Hirsch
    Judd Hirsch
    Judd Hirsch is an American actor most known for playing Alex Rieger on the television comedy series Taxi, John Lacey on the NBC series Dear John, and Alan Eppes on the CBS series Numb3rs.-Early life and education:...

     as Helinger, the head of the Princeton mathematics department.
  • Jason Gray-Stanford as Ainsley Neilson, the symbol cryptography professor. Nash pays particular attention to his tie.

Production


Producer Brian Grazer
Brian Grazer
Brian Thomas Grazer is an Academy Award-winning American film and television producer who co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 with Ron Howard. Together they have produced many acclaimed films, including Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind .- Career :Brian Grazer began his career as a producer...

 first read an excerpt of Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar is a German-born American economist and author, best known for her biography of John Forbes Nash, A Beautiful Mind.- Early life and history :...

's book A Beautiful Mind
A Beautiful Mind (book)
A Beautiful Mind is an unauthorized biography of Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar, professor of journalism at Columbia University...

in Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

. Grazer immediately purchased the rights to the film. He eventually brought the project to Ron Howard, who had scheduling conflicts and was forced to pass. Grazer later said that many A-list
A-list
A-list is a term that alludes to major movie stars, or the most bankable in the Hollywood film industry.The A-list is part of a larger guide called The Hot List that has become an industry-standard guide in Hollywood...

 directors were calling with their point of view on the project. He eventually focused on a particular director, who coincidentally was only available at the same time Howard was available. Grazer was forced to make a decision and chose Howard.

Grazer then met with a number of screenwriters, mostly consisting of "serious dramatists", but he chose Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
Akiva J. Goldsman from Walker Valley, New York is an American screenwriter and film producer. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture....

 instead, because of his strong passion and desire for the project. Goldsman's creative take on the project was to not allow the viewers to understand that they are viewing an alternate reality until a specific point in the film. This was done to rob the viewers of their feelings in the same way that Nash himself was. Howard agreed to direct the film based only on the first draft. He then requested that Goldsman accentuate the love story aspect.

Dave Bayer, a professor of Mathematics at Barnard College, Columbia University, was consulted on the mathematical equations that appear in the film. Bayer later stated that he approached his consulting role as an actor when preparing equations, such as when Nash is forced to teach a calculus class, and arbitrarily places a complicated problem on the blackboard. Bayer focused on a character who did not want to teach ordinary details and was more concerned with what was interesting. Bayer received a cameo role in the film as a professor that lays his pen down for Nash in the pen ceremony near the end of the film. Greg Cannom
Greg Cannom
Greg Cannom is a Hollywood special makeup effects artist. Cannom has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and has won three times. He has also been nominated for seven Saturn Awards and received one.-Partial filmography:...

 was chosen to create the makeup effects for A Beautiful Mind, specifically the age progression of the characters. Russell Crowe had previously worked with Cannom on The Insider
The Insider (film)
The Insider is a 1999 film based on the true story of a 60 Minutes television series segment, as seen through the eyes of a real tobacco executive, Jeffrey Wigand. The 60 Minutes story originally aired in November 1995 in an altered form because of objections by CBS’ then-owner, Laurence Tisch, who...

. Howard had also worked with Cannom on Cocoon
Cocoon (film)
The score for Cocoon was composed and conducted by James Horner. The soundtrack was released twice, through Polydor Records in 1985 and a reprint through P.E.G. in 1997 and features eleven tracks of score and a vocal track performed by Michael Sembello...

. Each character's stages of makeup were broken down by the number of years that would pass between levels. Cannom stressed subtlety between the stages, but worked toward the ultimate stage of "Older Nash". It was originally decided that the makeup department would merely age Russell Crowe throughout the film; however, at Crowe's request, the makeup purposefully pulled Crowe's look towards the facial features of the real John Nash. Cannom developed a new silicone-type makeup that could simulate real skin and be used for overlapping applications, shortening the application time from eight hours to four hours. Crowe was also fitted with a number of dentures to give him a slight overbite
Malocclusion
A malocclusion is a misalignment of teeth or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches. The term was coined by Edward Angle, the "father of modern orthodontics", as a derivative of occlusion, which refers to the manner in which opposing teeth meet.-Presentation:Most people have...

 throughout the film.

Howard and Grazer chose frequent collaborator James Horner
James Horner
James Roy Horner is an American composer, orchestrator and conductor of orchestral and film music. He is noted for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use of Celtic musical elements...

 to score the film because of familiarity and his ability to communicate. Howard said, regarding Horner, "It's like having a conversation with a writer or an actor or another director." A running discussion between the director and the composer was the concept of high-level mathematics being less about numbers and solutions, and more akin to a kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope
A kaleidoscope is a circle of mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other end creates a colorful pattern, due to the reflection off the mirrors...

, in that the ideas evolve and change. After the first screening of the film, Horner told Howard: "I see changes occurring like fast-moving weather systems." He chose it as another theme to connect to Nash's ever-changing character. Horner chose Welsh singer Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church
Charlotte Maria Church is a Welsh singer-songwriter, actress and television presenter. She rose to fame in childhood as a classical singer before branching into pop music in 2005. By 2007, she had sold more than 10 million records worldwide including over 5 million in the United States...

 to sing the soprano vocals after deciding that he needed a balance between a child and adult singing voice. He wanted a "purity, clarity and brightness of an instrument" but also a vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

 to maintain the humanity of the voice.

The film was shot 90% chronologically. Three separate trips were made to the Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 campus. During filming, Howard decided that Nash's delusions should always first be introduced audibly and then visually. This not only provides a visual clue, but establishes the delusions from Nash's point of view. The real John Nash's delusions were also only auditory. A technique was also developed to visualize Nash's epiphanies. After speaking to a number of mathematicians who described it as "the smoke clearing", "flashes of light" and "everything coming together", the filmmakers decided upon a flash of light appearing over an object or person to signify Nash's creativity at work. Two night shots were done at Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University is a private university founded as a junior college in 1942. It now has several campuses located in New Jersey, Canada, and the United Kingdom.-Description:...

's campus in Florham Park, NJ, in the Vanderbilt Mansion ballroom.

Many actors were considered for the role of John Nash, including Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis
Walter Bruce Willis , better known as Bruce Willis, is an American actor, producer, and musician. His career began in television in the 1980s and has continued both in television and film since, including comedic, dramatic, and action roles...

, Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner
Kevin Michael Costner is an American actor, singer, musician, producer, director, and businessman. He has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards, won two Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. Costner's roles include Lt. John J...

, John Travolta
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta is an American actor, dancer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease...

, Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

, John Cusack
John Cusack
John Paul Cusack is an American film actor and screenwriter. He has appeared in more than 50 films, including The Journey of Natty Gann, Say Anything..., Grosse Point Blank, The Thin Red Line, Stand by Me, Con Air, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity, Serendipity, Runaway Jury, The Ice Harvest,...

, Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen
Carlos Irwin Estevez , better known by his stage name Charlie Sheen, is an American film and television actor. He is the youngest son of actor Martin Sheen....

, Robert Downey, Jr., Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage is an American actor, producer and director, having appeared in over 60 films including Raising Arizona , The Rock , Face/Off , Gone in 60 Seconds , Adaptation , National Treasure , Ghost Rider , Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans , and...

, Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

, Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes is an English actor and film director. He has appeared in such films as The English Patient, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Strange Days, The Duchess and Schindler's List....

, Jared Leto
Jared Leto
Jared Joseph Leto is an American actor, director, producer, occasional model and musician. Leto has appeared in both big budget Hollywood films and smaller projects from independent producers and art houses. He rose to prominence for playing Jordan Catalano in the teenage drama My So-Called Life...

, Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

, Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin
Alexander Rae "Alec" Baldwin III is an American actor who has appeared on film, stage, and television.Baldwin first gained recognition through television for his work in the soap opera Knots Landing in the role of Joshua Rush. He was a cast member for two seasons before his character was killed off...

, Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson, AO is an American actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old and later studied acting at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art.After appearing in...

, Sean Penn
Sean Penn
Sean Justin Penn is an American actor, screenwriter and film director, also known for his political and social activism...

, Guy Pearce
Guy Pearce
Guy Edward Pearce is an English-born Australian actor and musician, known for his roles as Leonard Shelby in Christopher Nolan's Memento, Lieutenant Ed Exley in L.A...

, Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick is an American film and stage actor who, among other roles, played the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adult Simba in The Lion King film series, and Leo Bloom in the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.He has won two Tony Awards, one in 1983 for his...

, Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman
Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor, voice actor, filmmaker and musician.A member of the 1980s Brit Pack, Oldman came to prominence via starring roles in British films Meantime , Sid and Nancy and Prick Up Your Ears , with his performance in the latter bringing him his first BAFTA Award...

 and Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves
Keanu Charles Reeves is a Canadian actor. Reeves is perhaps best known for his roles in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Speed, Point Break and the science fiction-action trilogy The Matrix...

. Cruise was lobbying for the part until Ron Howard ultimately cast Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

 after he saw his performance in Gladiator
Gladiator (2000 film)
Gladiator is a 2000 historical epic film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays the loyal Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed...

.

The producers had not originally thought of Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Lynn Connelly is an American film actress, who began her career as a child model. She appeared in magazine, newspaper and television advertising, before making her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America...

 for the role of Alicia. She was starring in Requiem for a Dream with Jared Leto
Jared Leto
Jared Joseph Leto is an American actor, director, producer, occasional model and musician. Leto has appeared in both big budget Hollywood films and smaller projects from independent producers and art houses. He rose to prominence for playing Jordan Catalano in the teenage drama My So-Called Life...

. Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossi
Portia Lee James DeGeneres , known professionally as Portia de Rossi , is an Australian-American actress, best known for her roles as lawyer Nelle Porter on the television series Ally McBeal and Lindsay Bluth Fünke on the sitcom Arrested Development...

, Catherine McCormack
Catherine McCormack
Catherine McCormack is an English actress, known for her stage acting as well as her screen performances in films such as Braveheart, Spy Game and Dangerous Beauty.- Early life :...

, Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan
Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra , professionally known as Meg Ryan, is an American actress and producer. Raised in Bethel, Connecticut, Ryan began her acting career in 1981 in minor roles, before joining the cast of the CBS soap opera As the World Turns in 1982...

, Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Anne Griffiths is an Australian film and television actress who came to prominence in the 1994 film Muriel's Wedding and her Academy Award nominated performance in the 1997 film Hilary and Jackie....

 and Amanda Peet
Amanda Peet
Amanda Peet is an American actress, who has appeared on film, stage, and television. After studying with Uta Hagen at Columbia University, Peet began her career in television commercials, and progressed to small roles on television, before making her film debut in 1995...

 were among the many actresses who lobbied for the role of Alicia. However, Ryan dropped out before production began.

Divergence from actual events


The narrative of the film differs considerably from the actual events of Nash's life. The film has been criticized for this, but the filmmakers had consistently said that the film was not meant to be a literal representation. Also, Nasar concluded that Nash's refusal to take drugs "may have been fortunate," since their side effects
Adverse effect (medicine)
In medicine, an adverse effect is a harmful and undesired effect resulting from a medication or other intervention such as surgery.An adverse effect may be termed a "side effect", when judged to be secondary to a main or therapeutic effect. If it results from an unsuitable or incorrect dosage or...

 "would have made his gentle re-entry into the world of mathematics a near impossibility."

One difficulty was in portraying stress and mental illness within one person's mind. Sylvia Nasar stated that the filmmakers "invented a narrative that, while far from a literal telling, is true to the spirit of Nash's story". The film made his hallucinations visual and auditory when, in fact, they were exclusively auditory. Furthermore, while in real life Nash spent his years between Princeton and MIT as a consultant for the RAND Corporation in California, in the film he is portrayed as having worked for the Pentagon instead. It is true that his handlers, both from faculty and administration, had to introduce him to assistants and strangers. The PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 documentary A Brilliant Madness attempts to portray his life more accurately.

The differences were substantial. Few if any of the characters in the film, besides John and Alicia Nash, corresponded directly to actual people. The discussion of the Nash equilibrium
Nash equilibrium
In game theory, Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his own strategy unilaterally...

 was criticized as over-simplified. In the film, schizophrenic hallucinations appeared while he was in graduate school, when in fact they did not show up until some years later. No mention is made of Nash's supposed homosexual experiences at RAND
RAND
RAND Corporation is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces by Douglas Aircraft Company. It is currently financed by the U.S. government and private endowment, corporations including the healthcare industry, universities...

, which Nash and his wife both denied. Nash also fathered a son, John David Stier (born June 19, 1953), by Eleanor Agnes Stier (1921–2005), a nurse whom he abandoned when informed of her pregnancy. The movie also did not include Alicia's divorce of John in 1963. It was not until Nash won the Nobel Memorial Prize that they renewed their relationship, although she allowed him to live with her as a boarder beginning in 1970. They remarried in 2001.
During graduate school, it appears in the movie that Nash was averse to game playing, when, in fact, according to Nasar's biography, he spent many hours playing games and even created a new game called "John" or "Nash" (Hex
Hex (board game)
Hex is a board game played on a hexagonal grid, theoretically of any size and several possible shapes, but traditionally as an 11x11 rhombus. Other popular dimensions are 13x13 and 19x19 as a result of the game's relationship to the older game of Go...

). The game was somewhat similar to Go, but the shape of the squares became hexagons. The game, somewhat in conflict with the movie's mathematical point, was not one in which "nobody wins," but was "a zero-sum two-person game with perfect information in which one player always has a winning strategy" (p. 77). Though this game was not shown in the film's theatrical cut, a deleted scene shows Nash inventing the game and showing it off to his friends at Princeton.

Nash is shown to join Wheeler Laboratory at MIT, but there is no such lab. He was appointed as C.L.E. Moore Instructor at MIT. The pen ceremony tradition at Princeton shown in the film is completely fictitious. The film has Nash saying around the time of his Nobel prize in 1994: "I take the newer medications", when in fact Nash did not take any medication from 1970 onwards, something Nash's biography highlights. Howard later stated that they added the line of dialogue because it was felt as though the film was encouraging the notion that all schizophrenics can overcome their illness without medication. Nash also never gave an acceptance speech for his Nobel prize because of fears the organisers had regarding his mental instability. Around the time of the Oscar nominations, Nash was accused of being antisemitic. Nash denied this.

Release and reception


A Beautiful Mind received a limited release on December 21, 2001, receiving positive reviews. It was later released in America on January 4, 2002. Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 showed a 78% approval rating among critics with a movie consensus stating "The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness." Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 gave the film four stars (his highest rating) Mike Clark of USA Today gave three and a half out of four stars and also praised Crowe's performance and referred to as a welcomed follow up to Howard's previous film The Grinch; however, Desson Thomson of the Washington Post found the film to be "one of those formulaically rendered Important Subject movies", and Charles Taylor of Salon Magazine gave the film a scathing review, calling Crowe's performance "the biggest load of hooey to stink up the screen this year". The mathematics in the film were well-praised by the mathematics community, including John Nash himself.

During the five-day weekend of the limited release, A Beautiful Mind opened at the twelfth spot at the box office
Box office
A box office is a place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to an event. Patrons may perform the transaction at a countertop, through an unblocked hole through a wall or window, or at a wicket....

, peaking at the number two spot following the wide release. The film went to gross $170,742,341 in North America and $313,542,341 worldwide.

A Beautiful Mind was released on VHS and DVD in the United States on June 25, 2002. The DVD set includes audio commentaries, deleted scenes and documentaries. The film was also released on Blu-ray in North America on January 25, 2011.

Awards


In 2002, the film was awarded four Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for Best Adapted Screenplay
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source...

 (Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
Akiva J. Goldsman from Walker Valley, New York is an American screenwriter and film producer. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture....

), Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 (Brian Grazer
Brian Grazer
Brian Thomas Grazer is an Academy Award-winning American film and television producer who co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 with Ron Howard. Together they have produced many acclaimed films, including Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind .- Career :Brian Grazer began his career as a producer...

 and Ron Howard
Ron Howard
Ronald William "Ron" Howard is an American actor, director, and producer. He came to prominence as a child actor, playing Opie Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show for eight years, and later the teenaged Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days for six years...

), Best Director
Academy Award for Directing
The Academy Award for Achievement in Directing , usually known as the Best Director Oscar, is one of the Awards of Merit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to directors working in the motion picture industry...

 (Ron Howard
Ron Howard
Ronald William "Ron" Howard is an American actor, director, and producer. He came to prominence as a child actor, playing Opie Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show for eight years, and later the teenaged Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days for six years...

), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 (Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Lynn Connelly is an American film actress, who began her career as a child model. She appeared in magazine, newspaper and television advertising, before making her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America...

). It also received four other nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 (Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

), Best Film Editing
Academy Award for Film Editing
The Academy Award for Film Editing is one of the annual awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominations for this award are closely correlated with the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since 1981, every film selected as Best Picture has also been nominated for the Film Editing...

 (Mike Hill
Mike Hill (film editor)
Mike Hill, A.C.E. is a film editor who won an Academy Award for the film Apollo 13 . Hill and his editing partner Dan Hanley have had a longstanding, notable collaboration with the director Ron Howard, having edited all of Howard's films since Night Shift .Hill was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and...

 and Daniel P. Hanley
Daniel P. Hanley
Daniel P. Hanley, A.C.E. is a film editor who won an Academy Award for the film Apollo 13 . Hanley and his editing partner Mike Hill have had a notable collaboration with the director Ron Howard, having edited all of Howard's films since Night Shift...

), Best Makeup
Academy Award for Makeup
The Academy Award for Best Makeup is the Oscar given to the best achievement in makeup for film. Usually, only three films are nominated each year rather than five as in most categories...

 (Greg Cannom
Greg Cannom
Greg Cannom is a Hollywood special makeup effects artist. Cannom has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and has won three times. He has also been nominated for seven Saturn Awards and received one.-Partial filmography:...

 and Colleen Callaghan), and Best Original Score
Academy Award for Original Music Score
The Academy Award for Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.-Superlatives:...

 (James Horner
James Horner
James Roy Horner is an American composer, orchestrator and conductor of orchestral and film music. He is noted for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use of Celtic musical elements...

). The 2002 BAFTAs awarded the film Best Actor and Best Actress to Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, respectively. It also nominated the film for Best Film, Best Screenplay, and the David Lean Award for Direction. At the 2002 AFI Awards
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

, Jennifer Connelly won for Best Featured Female Actor. In 2006, it was named #93 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
100 Years…100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies is a list of the most inspiring films as determined by the American Film Institute. It is part of the AFI 100 Years… series, which has been compiling lists of the greatest films of all time in various categories since 1998...

. The film was also nominated for Movie of the Year, Actor of the Year (Russell Crowe), and Screenwriter of the Year (Akiva Goldsman).

See also



Additional reading

  • Akiva Goldsman
    Akiva Goldsman
    Akiva J. Goldsman from Walker Valley, New York is an American screenwriter and film producer. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture....

    . A Beautiful Mind: Screenplay and Introduction. New York, New York: Newmarket Press
    Newmarket Press
    Newmarket Publishing and Communications Company, and its publishing arm Newmarket Press, was founded in 1981 by President and Publisher Esther Margolis...

    , 2002. ISBN 1-55704-526-7

External links