Recovery in the Media: #58. A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

Living a normal life with mental illness can be hard but also beautiful, as this film depicts.

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.

Additional Links:

A Beautiful Mind trailer on YouTube

A Beautiful Mind on IMDB

A Beautiful Mind on Rotten Tomatoes

A Beautiful Mind on Facebook



8 thoughts on “Recovery in the Media: #58. A Beautiful Mind

  1. “A Beautiful Mind” has always been one of my favorite movies. It’s awesome 🙂

  2. NZFiend says:

    Yes, an “oldie, but goodie”, for sure. Could someone please help me make an educational DVD about how to help your offspring with ADHD tendencies?!!!!

  3. islandkings says:

    Agree with all except for your cautions! I think we shield our children and Tweens from much too much about the more difficult and important aspects of life, only to let them watch and read the negative media and be exposed to overly violent American media. The aspects you note are well and tastefully treated in this film, so much so that I did watch it with my kids. There are too many good role models and commentary about real life not too. I guess it also matters when my Ex had serious BPD!! Thanks for the posting.

    • Certain kids can certainly watch and learn from this film. I was/am very sensitive concerning movies, so some of my cautions stem from that. However, I agree that we have far too much negative and violent media around us. Something like this is much more uplifting. The violence is not for the sake of being violent but has a greater purpose.

  4. […] there is much more to these people than those negative conotations. Awhile ago, I wrote a review of A Beautiful Mind. For this Media Monday, I decided to focus on another recovery-focused work about suicide, this […]

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