Human Mind is beautiful, and this is about one such mind. An extra-ordinarily Beautiful Mind. When this movie came out in 2001, it bagged 4 Oscars. It was obvious that the reason Russell Crowe (John Nash) was not given the Best Actor Award was only because he received the same award the year before for Gladiator. That speaks volume for the performance of an actor!
My intent here is not to pick a random old movie for review. There is something extra-ordinary in this movie, that speaks about Arts & Science. Its important to share.
The movie is about the life of Nobel Prize winner John Nash, who was suffering from Schizophrenia. Its a disease where the patient loses the ability to distinguish imagination from reality. The mind wanders in a delusional state. In this case, John Nash, Princeton Professor of mathematics imagines that his initial cryptographic work for a military project, takes him to be a secret agent, decoding messages from Russians from News Articles.
The objective of a movie is to make the audience feel the emotions that the characters are going through. In other words, place us in the shoes of the characters. Is it even possible to place us in the shoes of a Schizophrenic? Ron Howard, the director, can. He did.
Its just not the first person portrayal, the device employed in the movie, that is penetrating. The interaction between brain & heart, Science & Art, stands out very often, and takes us into the depths of humanity. Here we have a mathematical genius, who has a brilliant mind, so brilliant that in its imagination, it challenges itself. What does one do, if one loses control of ones mind? What does a Nobel Prize winner do?
Nash’s brain could not solve this challenging problem, without the help of another heart, his wife Alicia. Nash’s brain served humanity as a whole, and the single-Mom Alicia’s heart helps Nash overcome his problem. She shows him what is real, and what is not. It might seem an easy task, if you have not watched the movie. To show what is real, and what is not… To show this difference to a mathematical genius who can construct very believable/plausible consistent reasons for his delusions, is indeed a difficult task. Ron Howard gets an Oscar for best direction, for first demonstrating to us how extremely difficult the task is, and then showing us how Prof. Nash solves it in the end, amidst lot of struggles. Everytime Alicia attempts to help Nash, there will be a convincing reasonable explanation in Nash’s mind. It all makes perfect sense. For Nash, & for us. Ron Howard placed us in John Nash’s shoes.
To put oneself in another person’s shoes, requires effort. Once/if done with compassion, a lot of mis-understandings, social evils etc would go away. In developing Nations especially, there is a need for this effort. To really feel another person’s pain & suffering through generations after generations, it is not easy. But we have to try. Artists can help.
The Only Thing Greater Than the Power of the Mind is the Courage of the Heart