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UNIVERSIDAD INTERAMERICANA DE PUERTO RICO RECINTO DE SAN GERMÁN ESCUELA SAN GERMÁN INTERAMERICANA EXTRA CREDIT

UNIVERSIDAD INTERAMERICANA DE PUERTO RICO RECINTO DE SAN GERMÁN ESCUELA SAN GERMÁN INTERAMERICANA

EXTRA CREDIT REPORT

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001)

DANIELA S. RAMÍREZ ROGGIO (12—1)

ENGLISH 1201

PROF. SARAH MOORE

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As a whole, A Beautiful Mind is beautifully written, effectively acted, and carefully crafted, for it exposes

a story that blew me away. The movie is likely to remind the audience of how wonderful life is, but also about

the nature of coming face to face with obstacles. Also, it proves that overcoming hardships becomes much more

easier with the help of our loved ones. I chose this film because it reminded me of chapter we went through in

class about severe mental illnesses and how they take away a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Furthermore,

the brilliant performance of Russell Crowe, who played the main role: John Forbes Nash the schizophrenic

mathematical genius, blew me away throughout the whole film.

The movie, taken place in the fifties, is based on a true story of a man who has an outstanding passion

for mathematics. His asocial nature and lack of even fundamental social skills cease to become an impediment

as his brilliance emerges. Obsessed with finding a way to prove he truly matters, he competes with the other

students in Princeton's brutally competitive math department, all of whom are searching for one truly original

idea. Inspiration strikes him while he's studying in a local bar surrounded by his rowdy classmates. As they bat-

tle for the attention of a stunning blonde, Nash observes their rivalry and, from that, develops his “game

theory.” Nash's theory contradicts 150 years of accepted theory and earns him a coveted position at MIT where

part of his duty is to teach a course to eager young minds. One of Nash’s students, Alicia Larde, falls for him,

and later on, becomes his lifelong partner. As Nash’s mental condition unveils itself, worsening with time, Ali-

cia is the most dependable person he has, for her love for him remained the same no matter the circumstances of

his mental health. Nevertheless, Nash’s world grows dim as his work delves deeper into Russian sleeper cells in

the US and he begins to crack under the strain of constant threat from his enemies. There’s just one catch;

John’s government handler, Parcher, and those trying to kill him, are all in his head. For a second, the movie has

you convinced with a series of events that will probably make you forget about his condition, turning out as a

surprise once revealed. The movie keeps you guessing for a while, and the first half proceeds as an increasingly

tense Cold War story; but it shifts tone dramatically in the second half, focusing on John’s struggle to cope with

his schizophrenia and hallucinations, and instead of rooting for him to crack the Russian code, I ended up hop-

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ing he can simply deal with the terrors his brilliant mind imposes upon him. This factor of the movie was well

done and increased my interest to keep watching.

The major conflict and theme that is too obvious in this movie it is man versus himself. Nash creates a

confusion and terror that accentuates the ambience. His incredible acting palpable, but the real power of his per-

formance comes later, during the parts where John is simply trying to live a normal life. Eventually, Alicia be-

comes troubled by her husband’s madness,and understandably afraid. But she also stands by him, and her quiet

strength is as powerful in its own way as John’s humility. She matches Crowe’s strong

performance, no easy task. Alicia’s love for him and her dedication to him helped Nash to eventually learn how

to react to his disease and how to live a meaningful life. So, Alicia saw in John the man, not just the disease, and

proved how strong the power of love is.

When the mathematician faced his most awful stage, and was taken in by the doctor, he was constantly

being presented with reality. He was constantly reminded that there was no one there when he was talking to

Charles, “his best friend”. His wife showed his “code breaker documents” presenting that his delusion of him

being a spy is not real. His denial of his condition is also typical of schizophrenic patients which was what he

felt most of the time. His wife remained a saint, being with him for as long as she could which is really amaz-

ing. Although she was so supportive, she sometimes would explode out of frustration, likely in the scene where

she brakes everything she finds and screams with tears. It is totally understandable because her position as a

wife was the toughest.

Many issues about the medication are clear when John is under it. He could not function at

his optimum. His meds affected him in a way that made him unable to think clearly; in other words, he could

not function normally. The meds also limited his sexual capacity, making his body unresponsive to his wife’s

approaches. Although was in a stabilizing phase, he was also handicapped. He noticed his incapacity and decid-

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ed to stop taking his medications. This caused his delusions to come back, but this time worse, bringing him

again in the dangerous phase. He then believed that he could be hurt, so he came back under the “supervision”

of Parcher in the world of spies. His “friend” again took care of his son while the child is taking a bath. He is

again responsive, but not responsible due to his delusions. The most painful thing in this story for me is his real-

ization that his best friend Charles, since college is not real. Charles was the only one who “understood” him.

He seemed so real, having the “normal” responses of real people. It was painful for me to watch him let go of

the only one that kept him “sane” throughout his struggle with schizophrenia.

He then entered his stable phase, where he realized his delusions are not real. The one that helped him

realize that was when he accidentally hurt his wife and he saw her look at him in freight. This incident is a little

heartwarming because he manages to resist his delusions and confirm that it is not real without his medication

and psychiatrist. I felt like his love towards his wife was too powerful for him to continue hurting her, clearing

out the fog of the hallucination. Also, I found touching that he got the recognition that he wanted. He began

teaching again, and this time, effectively, judging from the responses of his students. When he was unexpectedly

invited for tea after a class in the room of the honored members of the Princeton community, it was emotional to

even see him getting the pens. And when he got the noble prize, he shows signs that his delusions are active, but

I could not help but admire that Nash was able to fight them. And I also admire that he recognized the role of his

wife in his life. Indeed, without her, he would have been in his worst state of being possible a long time ago.

I recommend this film to anyone who has not seen it or heard of it. Anyone who watches is in for a treat.

A Beautiful Mind is the definition of fine moviemaking. The crafting of the movie was meticulous with settings

and music that fit each scene like colors in a painting. Not once did the film fail to captivate my attention since

the beginning up to the end. Aside from that, the movie helped me reflect about how serious yet common mental

illnesses are. It should never be a laughing matter nor something to discriminate anyone for. John Nash was one

of America's most important mathematicians ever and he himself was a schizophrenic. People with mental ill-

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nesses deserve respect for the hardships they have endured and I realized that after watching the movie. A Beau-

tiful Mind reminded me of how lucky we are, those who are healthy and free of illnesses. We should appreciate

the fact that we are healthy and recreate a reality with no limits, just like people under far worse circumstances

whom overcome their hardships.

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