A Beautiful Mind Movie Review: a Captivating Portrayal of Schizophrenia

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Updated: Jun 20, 2023
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In America, 1.2% of the population has been diagnosed with schizophrenia-approximately 3.2 million individuals- and millions of people are yet to be diagnosed. John Nash, one of the world’s best mathematicians in the late 1940s, just so happened to have the devastating mental disability known as Schizophrenia. The movie “A Beautiful Mind’ shows the daily struggles and delusions of Nash and those around him affected by his mental condition.

A Beautiful Mind Movie Review

John Nash (Russell Crowe) is a student at Princeton, where he shows us what it is like to be an antisocial being in a very competitive world.

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What Nash does while at Princeton, despite his mental challenges, is truly an amazing story. “A Beautiful Mind” takes us all through the trials and tribulations John Nash and those close to him must go through as he grows old.


In 1947 John Nash attended Princeton University on a Carnegie Scholarship; for three years, he struggled to come up with his dissertation. He eventually came up with a 27-page dissertation, where he developed a “Game Theory” which goes against over 100 years of economics. During the time when he is developing his theory, he is extremely antisocial and introverted, having only one close friend and claiming that “people don’t like him and he doesn’t like people.’ Because of his ‘Game Theory,’ he is hired to become a professor at MIT, where he will meet his soon-to-be wife, Alicia Nash. As time goes on, Alicia notices John is becoming more distant from her and the rest of the world, so he can work with Agent Parcher from the CIA, who has hired him to break secret codes. As the movie progresses, it becomes more clear that John is having delusions, so Nash is taken to a mental institution. At the institution, Nash is diagnosed with Schizophrenia, where he learns that his ‘job’ with the CIA was, in fact, not real, and neither was Charles, his niece-who John also had a close relationship- and agent Parcher is all delusions.

Nash gets shock treatments and medicine to help alleviate the symptom of his Schizophrenia. After he gets deinstitutionalized, John becomes even more introverted, which puts a strain on Alicia because she is required to take care of him and their newborn son. Nash then discovers that his brain is not working quite the same as before the diagnosis, so he secretly stops taking his medicine, like many other victims of Schizophrenia have been known to do. John offers to give his son a bath while Alicia is doing the laundry, and while doing so, he almost kills the child. Alicia then discovers that he has not been taking his medicine when she finds their shed full of newspapers and “codes” that Nash is trying to crack again. Alicia then runs upstairs, where she finds their child almost drowning in the bathtub. John claims that Charles was watching the baby, so he was okay. Nash absolutely does not want to take his medicine again, so he and Alicia decide to try and figure things out without him having to take the medicine. Slowly but surely, John can tell the difference between one of his delusions and what is real. Eventually, he returned to the research and teaching community and, in 1994 received a Nobel Peace Prize in economics.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can cause hallucinations, trouble concentrating and thinking straight, lack of motivation, and delusions. Schizophrenia does not have a cure, but there are several methods for treatment. These methods include:

  • Psychotherapy- Psychotherapy is where a therapist teaches the individual how to deal with their delusions and behavior. The individual will learn what is real and what is not.
  • Shock Therapy- This is not the most common treatment for Schizophrenia. A doctor will send an electric current through the patient’s brain, which causes a small seizure that is not harmful.
  • Medication- The medicine that is prescribed to these patients are called antipsychotics. These prescriptions can be used as a pill, injection, or liquid. There are many possible versions of this medication that can be given to the patient that best fits their needs.


From the beginning of the movie, it is apparent that Nash does not have good social skills and is very different from the rest of his peers. When he gets to college, he doesn’t click with the other mathematicians and only makes one friend, Charles, who isn’t even real. The other guys think that he is crazy and shouldn’t be at Princeton despite how smart he is. He then meets Alicia, who falls in love with him, but she doesn’t know the worst is yet to come. Before he is diagnosed, Alicia feels helpless because John is becoming more distant and will not talk to her. Once he is diagnosed, Alicia feels an immense burden having to care for him and their newborn son. Their relationship also struggles since his medicine causes him to have sexual dysfunction. Although the movie does not highlight his relationship with his son, the viewer can assume that while he is growing up, their relationship is a bit rocky as Nash struggles to find reality.

Day-To-Day Challenges & Receiving Help From Others

John faces many challenges every single day. Nash has trouble with social interaction making teaching, dating, and making friends much more difficult for him. He also must face others taunting him and not understanding that he is different from them. Because of his delusions, he puts his kid and his wife in danger.

Alicia feels a burden whilst taking care of John, but she loves him, so she continues to do everything he needs her to do. John receives the most help from Dr. Rosen. Rosen helps him to realize that what he is seeing is, in fact, not real and provides him with the treatment that he needs to get better.

How I Would Live & Opinions About the Movie.

I believe I would be absolutely miserable if I had Schizophrenia. I definitely would not be as successful as John. I can’t even imagine what it feels like to not know the difference between a delusion and reality. I loved this movie; it made me realize how difficult it is to actually live with this disorder. I had no idea how much Schizophrenia can affect those living around the person as well.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Schizophrenia is a horrible disease that affects millions of people’s abilities to think clearly and function properly. This disease alters reality for the people suffering from it and can severely affect their day-to-day life and the relationships around them. ‘A Beautiful Mind’ does an amazing job of representing Schizophrenia and how it affects individuals.


  1. ‘Schizophrenia Symptoms, Patterns And Statistics, And Patterns.’ Mental Help Early Childhood Cognitive Development Language Development Comments, www.mentalhelp.net/articles/schizophrenia-symptoms-patterns-and-statistics-and-patterns/.
  2. “Therapy for Schizophrenia: What to Know.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-therapy#1.
  3. Warning Signs of Mental Illness, www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia/what-is-schizophrenia.
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A Beautiful Mind Movie Review: A Captivating Portrayal of Schizophrenia. (2023, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-beautiful-mind-movie-review-a-captivating-portrayal-of-schizophrenia/