A Beautiful Mind
Reviewed by: Erik Maxwell
2 hr. 23 min.
Year of Release:
December 21, 2001
Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a persistent and uncontrollable anxiety in certain life areas. I have been diagnosed with this condition. For me, my anxiety comes in not talking “just perfectly” or typing“just perfectly,” or even in reading or thinking just perfectly. Right now, the typing mistakes that I am inevitably making are driving me crazy, but I am trying very hard not to let them bother me. Often I find myself on the verge of nervous breakdown, facing great difficulty in simply concentrating on something that becomes so stressful.
John Nash (Russell Crowe) in Ron Howard’s “A Beautiful Mind” also suffers with a disorder. He has schizophrenia which makes him see and interact with people that only he can see, in short because they are figments of his imagination. For me, “A Beautiful Mind” is remarkably therapeutic. Nash faced a much more serious problem from mine, yet was able to overcome his difficulties and go so far as to win the Nobel Prize! The overwhelming message of this film is that people can get better, and as Nash’s wife Alicia (Jennifer Conneley) says, “I have to believe that something extraordinary can happen.” And it does. Believe me—it does.
Nash is one of the elite number of people who attended Princeton University in the 1940s. While attending, despite slacking off and not attending classes, he manages to turn in a paper to the Dean so revolutionary that the Dean claims it brilliantly disagrees with the past 150 years of economics. As flattering as this is, Nash’s life doesn’t get better. A member of the Department of Defense, Parcher (Ed Harris) meets up with him and, recognizing his genius, appoints him to the daunting task of scanning major U.S. periodicals on the lookout for coded messages from the Russians hidden in their articles. Nash works 24 hours a day, often without food, reading and rereading publications such as “The New York Times” until thousands of clippings, all marked up, are posted up throughout his home office.
Of course, it’s a secret mission he’s involved in. Parcher warns him not to divulge his work to anyone—not even his wife. But when Alicia finally does discover his work, things take such a mind-bending turn that it makes the hair stand on end.
Without giving away any more plot, Nash is ultimately diagnosed with incurable schizophrenia and finally decides to confront his demons—no matter how hard this may be.
“A Beautiful Mind” is truly a masterpiece of acting, directing, and writing. While scenes of Nash’s breaking down may be too intense for young children, this film is perfect therapy for anybody searching for inspiration. It provides truth that people CAN and often DO get better. I left the theater happier… lighter… less desperate, with the realization that there truly is no reason why hope should cease. Is this a Christian virtue? Certainly. The subtle message being taught is that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” While “A Beautiful Mind” doesn’t come right out and say it as such, this film is certainly one of the most spiritual I’ve encountered. It serves as an excellent choice for anyone who believes that one should never stop wishing, hoping, and praying for healing. This film is truly a gift and has my vote for “Best Picture of 2001.”
Thanks to modern day science, there is medication for my disorder, and time has come when I must take it. I thank God every day for it. May this film serve as a reminder to pray for those suffering with illness.