Directed by Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind is an inspiring American movie, which explores the story of a successful young Mathematician, John Nash. In the story, Nash tries to find an original idea while in a graduate school where he interacts with many people most of whom he does not like. He later gets a high profile job where he falls in love with Alicia whom he later marries. Nash begins to have a problem of paranoia and he later discovers that he is suffering from Schizophrenia.
He tries to cope with his medical condition. At one point, he attempts to pluck out an implant in his arm. At another instance, he refuses to take medicine because he claims that the medicine has side effects. This condition brings suffering in Nash’s life as he watches in pain how much his condition burdens his wife as well as his friends. The rest of the movie talks about Nash’s abilities and achievements as he tries to overcome his condition while he brings out his genius self. By using the events in Nash’s life and his condition, the movie accurately depicts schizophrenia, which will be the major subject of interest in the review of this movie.
Schizophrenia is a mind disorder in which the sufferer experiences periods of hallucinations and delusions. The movie successfully manages to create global awareness about Schizophrenia, a mental illness, which people had hitherto considered a mystery. The movie effectively underscores different issues about Schizophrenia including what happens in the sufferer’s mind by handling it as one of the major themes.
Nasar argues that the decision of Howard to showcase Nash as a sufferer of Schizophrenia who is able to overcome this mental disorder is quite admirable since besides encouraging the sufferers of this mental illness, he also overshadows the world wide myths about this condition (1998, p.78) . The film shows how Nash suffers from his childhood, gradually learns to overcome this condition and manages to bring out his genius self as a mathematician. According to Goldsman, the hallucinations and delusions experienced by Nash as this condition plagues him from his childhood is an attempt by Psychiatrists to guide and educate people about the symptoms of this mental illness ( 2002, p.52). Like Nash, everyone, if not most of the people suffering from Schizophrenia are bound to experience hallucinations and delusions.
The violent nature of Nash that causes his wife to flee with her baby in fear of her security further shows that choleric is another symptom of Schizophrenia. There may however be small variations in the intensity these symptoms amongst the sufferers. After undergoing insulin therapy, the Physician gives Nash antipsychotic drugs that after taking part of the dose he experiences damaging fallouts that sever emotional and sexual links with his wife. This prompts him to stop taking the drugs, which affects his intellect.
By painting this picture of Nash, the director tries to create awareness about the side effects of schizophrenia medication. On the other side, many myths exist in the public domain about this condition. One such myth asserts that schizophrenics exhibit two or more personalities. For instance, Nash assumes one personality as a sufferer of Schizophrenia and the other as a genius in mathematics who wins Nobel prizes.
A Beautiful Mind is one of the movies that have successfully endeavored to create worldwide awareness about Schizophrenia, a mental illness that causes hallucinations and delusions. The movie, through the main character manages to inform its audience that despite being in this condition, the sufferers can overcome it and live up to their expectations.
(2002). A Beautiful Mind: The Shooting Script. New York: Newmarket Press. Print. Nasar, Sylvia. (1998). A Beautiful Mind. New York: Touchstone Books.