I saw A Beautiful Mind sometime in 2003 when I was still living at home with my parents. I remember that we all loved it and for a little while it became my favourite film. (Note I discovered Martin Scorsese the next year). Ten years later and I barely remembered a thing about it. I remembered Russel Crowe and something about maths and spying but that was all. I didn’t even remember how remarkably well formed Jennifer Connolly looked. I certainly didn’t recall any twists or surprises. Coming back to the film after ten years in my bid to watch every Oscar Best Picture winner (the film won in 2002) I was left disappointed by some very obvious twists and character development, something my young mind didn’t pick up on in 2003 and had subsequently forgotten. This early flaw put a dampener on the entire film and although it is very good in places, I could never quite get over the early let down.
The film is based on the life of Mathematician John Nash (Crowe) and we pick up his story as he begins his Doctoral thesis at Princeton in 1947. It is immediately obvious that he is highly gifted, egotistical and sure of his talents but lacks interpersonal skills. This is something which is picked up upon by his class mates and he makes very few friends in his time at College. He does gradually become acquainted with his eccentric English room mate Charles Herman (Paul Bettany) and the two remain close for many years. After a major breakthrough at Collage, Nash begins working at MIT but his unusual personality begins to develop into something more and he is taunted by mental illness which interrupts his work and threatens to break up his family.