A Beautiful Mind

So whilst here in Seattle, I’ve read Sylvia Nasar’s A Beautiful Mind, the biography of John Nash. I also saw the film. The book, I liked. It was clearly heavily researched, and came across as partial, but fairly objective in its depiction of John Nash. The film, however, was just no good at all. I don’t know what all the fuss was about. With Russel Crowe Forrest Gumping his way through the performance, a bizarre story that if at all, was at most loosely inspired by the book itself, a complete white-washing of his life. Worse still, the film itself did not hold together terribly well – fairly episodic, I never got a feel for John Nash as a person, nor as a sufferer.

Some questions come to mind:
John Nash’s own documented delusions were incredibly interesting and film-worthy, so why invent those particular sets of delusions for the film? I mean – attempting to renounce his citizenship, the ‘left foot of god’, the persecution paranoia – all very interesting.
What about all his travels? Nash travelled extensively while ill – often in attempts to renounce his american citizenship, applying for refugee status, etc.
The hospitalizations – there was more than on, contrary to the film, and each would apear to have singular and distinct impact on him – making them important.
The other child, the other woman, the divorce, the schizophrenic son. No mention at all in the film.
The affairs, the arrest, RAND, etc – the incredible simplification of what he did was of great detriment to the story of the man, I feel.

The film could be validated as a fully fictional film of a delusional man. Were it not billed as a biography, it would hold up more. Which brings up the question of the need for truth – it was not billed as a documentary, nor a docu-drama. But regardless, I feel the filmmakers missed the boat on what could have been a very interesting story, rather than a predictable tear-jerking, manipulative and overly-simplified life story.

I would highly recommend reading the biography, but won’t recommend the film, unless one is a Russel Crowe devotee.

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