With great fanfare, the Biblical epic "Noah" opens in theatres this weekend. This film marks the second time Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly have played husband and wife. The first was in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind," which came out in 2001. Whereas in "Noah," they will be set in an ancient time and poised to battle external forces of evil, this movie sets them in the 20th century, and their demons are far more personal ones.
"A Beautiful Mind" is based on a true story. In it, Crowe plays John Nash, a brilliant, but extremely troubled mathematician. In the early 1950s, he taught a class where he met Physics major Alicia (played by Connelly), his future wife. The serious young student is attracted to him, even though he is socially awkward. Shortly after they get married, John becomes increasingly paranoid. He is brought to a mental hospital, where he is diagnosed as schizophrenic. Because of this, he sees people who are not real. John spends many years struggling to overcome his condition.
"A Beautiful Mind" features one of Russell Crowe's best performances. He does a great job showing how John becomes more and more unbalanced. Yet he also shows that he is smart enough to overcome his condition. Crowe's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination. Jennifer Connelly is equally strong as Alicia, who loves John and is determined to help him. Connelly's performance won her an Oscar.
The screenplay for the film is excellent. We see how hard it is for both John and Alicia to deal with his schizophrenia. The audience does not always know which characters are real and which ones are a result of John's delusions.
"A Beautiful Mind" is one of Ron Howard's best films.