"A Beautiful Mind"
Directed by Ron Howard.
Written by Akiva Goldsmith.
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connolly, and Ed Harris.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 12/29/01
I was doing a bio search on Ron Howard just
a minute ago, because I wanted to see just when he earned his first
screen credit. It really is amazing, that this guy was Opie and
all...but, more impressively, Ron Howard has been in show business,
REALLY been in show business, for almost 50 years. FIFTY YEARS!!
So, you would think by now, he is starting to get it.
And, with impressive turns either
commercially or critically in the last five years, including
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, plus being a
generally nice guy from all accounts that I have read, it makes
sense that everyone wants to work with him. So, when I read last
year that Crowe had committed to a project that had him playing a schizo mathematician, I thought, “Yeah, that is gonna suck.” I was
still in “Gladiator” mode then, of course, and I was hoping that
Crowe would now begin a career that involved large adventure epics.
Instead, he showed why he may be the most versatile actor in film.
And, that is what really hits you as you
watch “A Beautiful Mind”...this guy Crowe is one bad mother...
SHUT YO' MOUTH!!
I'm talkin' bout Crowe! Talk about a
potpourri--he plays a brute but lovable cop in “LA Confidential”,
then he plays an overweight whistleblower in “The Insider”, then he
plays action hero in “Gladiator”, then he goes to MATHEMATICIAN in
this film? What will he do next?? Only six years ago, he was in
the awful “Virtuosity”...but, even I have to say, he was damn good
in that film despite the fact that the story sucked. But, this guy
is on top of the game right now. Besides probably just Denzel, no
one else can span the spectrum of roles like Crowe is right now. He
can play action, adventure, romance, drama...and, he actually does
pretty well at the comedic moments in “A Beautiful Mind”, too.
But, enough about kissing his ass...is his
film any good? I'll put it this way: near the end of this film,
based on the life of some crazy, schizophrenic delusional named John
Nash, Jr., I think every single person in the theater except for me
was crying. Look, if you don't care about what you are watching, or
are not caught up in the emotion of the characters being presented
to you, you don't cry. I can't think of any bad film where I was
near tears by the end of it. But, “A Beautiful Mind” almost had me,
were it not for the fact that this stupid woman behind me kept
rummaging through a plastic bag she had brought in with her looking
for more napkins or Kleenex.
This is a great movie. I really didn't
think I would get caught up in a story that is one-third romance,
one-third drama and one-third comedy...about a math student. But, I
did. And, it helps that the key support roles in this film are
money in the bank. Paul Bettany, the hilarious Chaucer from this
year's earlier surprise “A Knight's Tale”, is great once again as
Nash's college roommate Charles, and Ed Harris is his usual reliable
self as a government agent that wants to use Nash to help the
country's greater good. But, the standout here has got to be
Jennifer Connelly, who has gone from small-timer (the forgettable
“The Rocketeer”) to dead and forgotten to two great performances,
here and in “Requiem for a Dream.” And, if it wasn't obvious
before, the girl is hot and makes the Crowe/Connelly pairing one of
the most watchable in recent memory.
And, despite its almost 150-minute running
time, it flies by as Howard guides us through Nash's career at
Princeton to his work with the government to his diagnosis of
schizophrenia to his 1994 Nobel Prize. Crowe's performance is
amazing and the film, like so many others released here in December,
will likely be among the lucky winners come next March.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard