A Beautiful Mind (2001) Review

Director: Ron Howard

Genre(s): Biography, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 135 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

IMDb Page

While A Beautiful Mind is not my favorite movie of 2001 (that would be A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001]), it was still a very worthy choice for Best Picture at the Oscars held for films released that year. The feature being reviewed here has a wide appeal and still holds up very well. It’s a biopic of genius mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe), who finds himself increasingly wrapped up in the Cold War intrigue of the late-1940s and early-1950s.

A picture like this easily could’ve become just another dry recitation of the events in the subject’s life, but, under the guidance of director Ron Howard, it becomes something far more than that. A Beautiful Mind turns out to be an engrossing psychological thriller that rewards multiple viewings. If there’s any downside here, it’s that the third act isn’t as eye-popping as some of the content that came before it.

Russell Crowe was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his work on A Beautiful Mind. His performance here could not be any more different than his performance in the previous year’s Gladiator (2000) if he tried. They’re worlds apart, with him playing a badass action hero in the 2000 movie and an awkward, self-absorbed intellectual in the 2001 one. However, the entire cast of A Beautiful Mind deserves a shout-out, because they all did a phenomenal job.

As far as flicks that won the Oscar for Best Picture go, this one is certainly more on the crowd-pleasing side, rather than the it-only-appeals-to-film-snobs side. On paper, a film about a mathematician who doesn’t kick anybody’s ass may sound like a recipe for disaster, but Ron Howard pulls it off. It really is a stirring and thought-provoking drama, with some great performances thrown into the mix.

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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