A Beautiful Mind: Eli Reed
Scott Brown
June 28, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Beautiful Mind

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
135 minutes
Limited Release Date
12/21/01
Wide Release Date
01/04/02
performer
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Ed Harris, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Rapp
director
Ron Howard
Producer
Brian Grazer
distributor
Universal
author
Akiva Goldsman
genre
Drama, Biography

We gave it an A-

A tidy film about a messy subject, A Beautiful Mind is a miracle of Hollywood science: Call it [(X+G-C)/D]xRC=O. For those who slept through Movie Calculus, that figure denotes the incredible life story of schizophrenic mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. (X) as rendered by Akiva Goldsman’s suspension bridge of a script (G), minus certain biographical complications (C), dissolved in the revelatory shimmer of Roger Deakins’ cinematography (D), and brought to twitchy, brilliant life by Russell Crowe (RC). All of which equates to a thrillingly proficient Oscar darling (O).

That’s how the equation looked on director Ron Howard’s blackboard, and that’s more or less how it played out in practice. Sure, the aforementioned complications (Nash’s alleged homosexual leanings and anti-Semitism) came back to haunt the movie, which some decried as ”sanitized.” ”Machine-tooled” is more like it: Goldsman strings his clever reverses, ironies, and symmetries harp-taut across Howard’s sturdy direction — even Nash’s delusional free falls feel algebraic. It all adds up to a primer in the governing dynamics of good cinema, if not a lesson in the math of madness.

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