As the Cold War was heating up, the Defense Department recruited a brilliant young mathematician named John Nash to crack communist codes found in newspapers and magazines. Nash, who is capable of deciphering codes in his mind, is adept in his covert position, depositing decoded articles in a mailbox used by his Defense Department handler. The trouble is that John Nash, brilliant as he is, is also schizophrenic, and his decoding work is a figment of his own imagination.

The telling of Nash’s story in A Beautiful Mind is both dramatic and confusing. I was completely convinced that everything that was taking place was real until Nash’s condition was revealed. Given the intricacies of showing what was happing in Nash’s mind, as well as what was actually happening in the real world, the movie could have been almost unwatchable, but the combined skill of the writer and director pulled it all together. This intriguing film demonstrated that, in spite of the mental illness that caused him to be a danger to himself and his family, Nash was able to control his delusions and ultimately become a Nobel Prize winning mathematician and economist.

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