A Beautiful Mind

Rated 4.0 Russell Crowe plays John Nash, the brilliant Princeton mathematician who sank into delusional schizophrenia in the 1950s, then recovered enough, incredibly, to win the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994. Akiva Goldsman’s script fictionalizes the bare framework of Nash’s life in a way that sneaks us into the mind of a madman, with some narrative tricks that surprise us when we suddenly realize just how insane he really is. Director Ron Howard gives the film a big-important-picture glossiness that makes it feel a bit like an inspirational story in the Reader’s Digest, but he also draws smooth performances from Crowe and his supporting cast: Jennifer Connelly as his wife Alicia, Ed Harris as his mysterious CIA contact, Paul Bettany as his college roommate and Christopher Plummer as his psychiatrist.