The film A Beautiful Mind remains one of those sensitive and moving films telling the story of an outstanding mathematician known as John Forbes Nash, who is battling paranoid schizophrenia. Based on the true story of a scholarly genius, the film was played by Russel Crowe and directed by Ron Howard. The film begins with Nash as an Intelligent Mathematics graduate at Princeton University. He’s an unfriendly and stubborn student who spends a lot of time discovering mathematics. Towards the middle of the film, we learn that most of the incidences and events that exist in the film are mere delusions inside the mind of Nash. This is when we notice that he is suffering from Schizophrenia, a fierce illness. One of the illusionary characters that the suffering Nash develops in his beautiful mind is Charles Herman, who is an English Literature student and Nash’s roommate.
Nash was diagnosed with Schizophrenia after experiencing severe hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia patients show symptoms such as disorganized speech, tears, delusions, and improper behaviors. Psychological therapy aims at helping the patients with few symptoms of the illness. The physical therapy is crucial in controlling the psychotic symptoms. Other non-medical treatments for schizophrenia include rehabilitation programs such as vocational and social counseling and training. However, a different treatment approach was used in treating Nash in the film. He was given psychotic treatment in a psychiatric hospital.
At some point in the film, Charles introduces his niece called Marcee to his roommate Nash, but he later proposes to one of the students he had met called Alicia. Nash continues with his teaching career, but one of the symptoms that come out clear is being paranoid. He often sees illusions such as men stalking him outside of class, but he remains unaware of the illness. At some point when Nash was lecturing his students, imaginary men attacked him and thus he escaped. This is the point in which Rosen, a psychiatrist is introduced. Nash was admitted to the psychiatric hospital although it was extremely difficult to deal with him. Rosen diagnosed him with severe schizophrenia and recommended insulin shock therapy for ten weeks. He demonstrates strength in overcoming the severe disorder after receiving the treatment. This is reflected in his response when asked if he remembers his friends. He responds “No, but I’ve gotten used to ignoring them, and as a result, they’ve kind of given up on me. I think that’s sorta what it’s like with dreams and nightmares. We’ve gotta keep feeding them for them to stay alive’’. Despite suffering from schizophrenia, Nash worked hard and discovered the game theory earning him a Nobel Prize in Economics.
In summary, the film portrays paranoid schizophrenia as a severe illness that can have adverse impacts on the life of a person. It describes vividly the negative and positive symptoms of the illness as portrayed by Nash. Through the film, we understand the critical role of medication in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia. Overall, the author succeeds in demonstrating the aspects of schizophrenia including its symptoms, medications, and therapy through the main character, Nash.
Grazer, Brian, Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman, Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, and Judd Hirsch. A Beautiful Mind. Willowdale, Ont: Universal Studios Canada, 2012.