58. A Beautiful Mind
Every since I first heard about this film, I longed to see it. However, some doctors cautioned that I might have schizophrenia. Anxiety about this caused me to shy away from anything associated with the illness but also raised my curiosity. Plus, my mother let me know that several scenes would be upsetting to me. Thus, I left this movie on my list of films to watch but made little effort to find it. In Oxford, A Beautiful Mind was chosen to watch for a movie night. Nervous but intrigued, I decided to at least see the beginning. Right away, the story sucked me inside and left me touched emotionally. Because it deals with a mental illness and focuses on living a normal life despite that condition, I chose this movie for Media Monday.
Synopsis: John Nash is brilliant. Strange, perhaps, but certainly brilliant. His life seems fairly normal at first – finishing school, falling in love, starting a family. However, things take a strange turn when this mathematician is called in to help the government. After he begins breaking Soviet codes, people start chasing and following Nash. Suddenly, his life is spinning out of control to the confusion of his wife. Recovery Pluses: I am not going to spoil the film for anyone who wants to watch it. However, it is already stated that this film deals with schizophrenia. This mental illness is shown as both powerful and debilitating, harmful and strengthening, overwhelming and conquerable. Having a normal life and brain is shown as desirable, but that does not make people with any illness less intelligent or important. It simply means that trying to live with healthy people is a daily challenge. That is about as far as I can go without giving away everything.
This film is based on a true story about the amazing John Nash, who won a Noble Prize in Economics. Some people have noted that this movie glosses over parts of his past or ignores certain faults. That may be true. Still, Nash’s story is incredible in many ways. We are shown his weaknesses and strengths. He is not always likable which makes the movie even more impactful. Yes, some points were omitted, but that would happen in the story of nearly anyone’s life.
The devotion and deep love of Nash’s wife, Alicia, is very touching as well. Despite the hardship, she stays supportive of her husband. However, this is done without her giving in and hurting herself. At certain points, Alicia leaves to care for herself and their son. This is a great example of a support person who both cares for themselves and their love one. Staying beside those that you care deeply for is important, but so is making sure you do not become worn out by care-taking.
Cautions: This film is rated PG-13 for some intense scenes, suggestive language, and swearing. There is an attempted suicide and a child who is almost drowned. Dealings with the American government and Soviet spies are sometimes action-packed and violent. Overall, the content can be disturbing and would be best for older teenagers and adults.
Despite my wariness, I ended up deeply moved by and inspired by this film. Schizophrenia is not part of my life. However, I do understand the difficulty and strengths of my neurotypical brain. Mental illness is a constant struggle but can bring great empathy, perception, intelligence, and other gifts. A Beautiful Mind shows how every mind, typical or not, is amazing. Instead of criticizing our brains, why don’t we clearly evaluate its weaknesses and advantages. We are all beautifully created and have something unique to offer the world.
A Beautiful Mind trailer on YouTube
A Beautiful Mind on IMDB
A Beautiful Mind on Rotten Tomatoes
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