Justifying that growth derives from one's mistakes, director Ron Howard of A Beautiful Mind follows the product of obsession through an anecdote of Nobel Prize winning mathematician and economist John Forbes Nash. The film not only provokes discussions regarding mental health but also how much the desire to attain intellectual validation is capable of consuming the sanity of an individual.
Flickering through articles of Vanity Fair, producer Brian Grazer stumbled upon an excerpt from Sylvia Nasar's biography of John Forbes Nash titled A Beautiful Mind. Immediately drawn to its plot, Grazer instantaneously purchased rights to the film and began his pre-production process in selecting a team with a budget of $58 million. Although there were a plethora of options, Grazer was able to acquire a team of notorious names such as director Ron Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and actor Russell Crowe. Without the initial intent, Jennifer Connelly was added to the lineup as Alicia who would be essential to the growth of Nash in the film. A majority of the production was filmed chronologically featuring the scenery of Princeton University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Manhattan College as its top film sets.
With nothing but a scholarship that grants him the opportunity to receive a graduate degree at Princeton University, Nash overwhelms himself to develop a modern theory costing him his mental stability. Similar to the classic Frankenstein, Nash becomes obsessed with getting published that he neglects the small things that make him human. Despite successfully proposing a breakthrough that contradicts 150 years of belief, Nash eventually falls victim to Paranoid Schizophrenia, a common case of schizophrenia that incites hallucinations, delusions, and auditory disruptions. Although it does not hinder his academic success, when he marries to his wife Alicia and has a child his illness begins to become detrimental to those he loves most. Based on a true story of obsession and its repercussions, A Beautiful Mind delineates that knowledge is only beneficial if you donít allow it to corrupt your well-being.
An essential aspect of cultivating a storyline within a film is through color grading. During the beginning of the film, warm, aestival tones are established implying that the viewer is perceiving moments of Nashs healthy and tranquil state. However as the film progress and Nash strains himself to become published, the warm tones dwindle and eventually and are eventually replaced with cool, devoid tones. This not only depicts the time committed to infatuation, but it is also a metaphor for the harsh collapse of his mental state. Although it may not be received the first time, it is certainly a creative addition to developing the emotional sentiments within the film.
Prior to its release worldwide, A Beautiful Mind gained favorability among selected viewers for Russell Crowes performance. During its worldwide release, the film peaked at #2 at the box office, a significant jump from its placement at #12 during its limited release. According to John Sutherland a writer at The Guardian, Howard pulls off an extraordinary trick in A Beautiful Mind by seducing the audience into Nash's paranoid world. The film was received well and grossed at $170,742,341 in the United States and Canada and $313,542,341 worldwide. In 2002, the film was recognized and awarded with four 74th Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actress.
Although A Beautiful Mind did not properly follow the lifetime of Dr. Nash, it was able to bring recognition to issues that at times derive from validation such as mental illness, infatuation, and mania. It limns that one is able to acquire knowledge, however, it is only beneficial if one it is not the product of its corruption.