Volume 95, Issue 54

Tuesday, January 9, 2002
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Ocean's Eleven

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Vanilla Sky


The Royal Tenenbaums

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris

Directed By: Ron Howard

Three stars (out of five)

Though it is difficult to place sure bets on any films this season, many critics think A Beautiful Mind could be a big winner at March's Academy Awards ceremony.

What a shame that would be.

A Beautiful Mind tells the true story of John Forbes Nash Jr., a brilliant Princeton mathematician who is driven mad by schizophrenia and forced to undergo insulin shock therapy before eventually overcoming the disease and winning a Nobel Prize.

The film, directed by the squeaky clean Ron Howard, follows Nash through his madness and into the parallel universe he creates in his imagination before finding a certain amount of clarity on the other side.

With strong performances from Crowe and Jennifer Connelly – who plays his dedicated and understanding wife – A Beautiful Mind does not immediately disappoint.

The portions of the film where it is not immediately clear what is truth and what is fiction are quite impressive. Ed Harris delivers a stirring performance as the shady defence department agent.

However, the problems arise in the final quarter of the film when Howard compromises the film's inherent quality to create a cliché-ridden, Hollywood-typical ending, complete with the speech and standing ovation.

Instead of letting this incredible story speak for itself, Howard insists on drawing out its emotional qualities and making them plainly obvious for the audience.

If they awarded Oscars for great stories, A Beautiful Mind would deserve a few. But they don't. Oscars are awarded for cinematic tellings of great stories and for that, A Beautiful Mind disappoints.

–Matt Pearson

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