Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33
  1. 100
    Crowe brings the character to life by sidestepping sensationalism and building with small behavioral details.
  2. 88
    The kind of expression of emotion that touches a deeper chord.
  3. 90
    Sadly, Howard blands out in the final third, using old-age makeup and tear-jerking to turn a tough true story into something easily digestible. Until then, you'll be riveted.
  4. 60
    The success of this effect, which helps elevate the movie above a classy disease-of-the-week saga, rests firmly on Russell Crowe's performance, and it's a strikingly good and moving one.
  5. While it's a splendidly acted film, A Beautiful Mind is also a wasted opportunity.
  6. Crowe sometimes summons up one of the most powerful depictions of mental illness I have ever seen with barely an eyelid flicker separating manifestations of sickness from utterly sane displays of creative concentration.
  7. Howard, and the screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, have used the book as nothing more than their jumping-off point for an erratic work of fiction that's part mystery thriller and part Hollywood schmaltz.
  8. There is more to admire in A Beautiful Mind than you might suspect, but less than its creators believe. When the film does succeed, it almost seems to do so despite itself.
  9. What began as a bold and thrilling story descends into Hollywood cliché. But Crowe and Connelly's work rises above the mush. They make A Beautiful Mind go.
  10. Instead of an originally conceived movie that reflects Nash's troubled but brilliant mind, we have one of those formulaically rendered Important Subject movies -- the kind that seem exclusively designed for Best Picture nominations.
  11. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    As Nash gets closer to Crowe's own age (and level of dissipation), the performance settles down and becomes first credible and then overwhelming. This is a stupendous piece of acting.
  12. So many things come together so beautifully in this movie based on the life of John Forbes Nash Jr. that you're likely to find yourself willing to benignly overlook its occasional biographical lapses and narrative sweetening.
  13. Howard has never been so grown-up in his handling of tough themes or so inventive in depicting states of mind. Goldsman has never been so down-to-earth or created so touching a character.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Consistently engrossing as an unusual character study and as a trip to the mysterious border-crossing between rarified brilliance and madness, this serious-minded but lively film is distinguished by an exceptional performance by Russell Crowe.
  15. Though the role might seem a real stretch for an actor who just won an Oscar for his Charlton Heston turn as Maximus in "Gladiator," he and the movie ace the test.
  16. It's an absorbing, progressively unsettling and ultimately very inspiring biographical reflection that, in the interest of creating its subject's internal landscape, plays some chilling tricks on its audience.
  17. The movie can -- indeed, should -- be intellectually rejected, but you can't quite banish it from your mind.
  18. This is another brilliant performance by Crowe, who is to body language what Meryl Streep is to accents.
  19. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This is one inspiring movie despite extremely tricky subject matter -- better than "Shine" and among the most affecting ever made about co-existing with mental demons.
  20. A greatly ambitious undertaking, but from the commercial point of view quite insane. The movie is ridiculously fragile: It's like a Faberge egg, and even a twitch of foreknowledge will destroy the magic of the movie utterly.
  21. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The film makes more apparent than ever that Howard is quite underrated as a filmmaker, possibly because he's been hidden in full view in the mainstream for so long.
  22. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Too facile to resonate deeply. Shouldn't a movie celebrating Nash give you some idea what his mathematical work is about? Fishier still is the suggestion that the cure for paranoid schizophrenia is love.
  23. Gripping, smart and moving, without falling prey to sentimentality, it shows what can be achieved when mainstream filmmakers like Howard and Goldsman are genuinely inspired and determined to be honest.
  24. 80
    Director Ron Howard's deftness in suggesting the subjective experience of Crowe's character, who's later diagnosed with schizophrenia, makes for inspirational narrative.
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    The result is mainstream moviemaking at its highest, most satisfying level.
  26. Inspiring and largely unsentimental, this is as much a love story as a tale of courage.
  27. It's everything most movies this year have not been: deeply felt, genuine, gracious.
  28. 20
    It's not just our emotions that are being played on here, it's not just our intelligence being insulted because of Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman's presumption that we won't have any interest in a character whom it's not always possible to like. It's John Nash's life, being turned into an Oscar machine and an easy way to jerk tears.
  29. 60
    It's doubly frustrating that after flirting with (and even upending) biopic conventions for much of its length, A Beautiful Mind finally gives in to them so readily.
  30. 50
    Crowe understands what's interesting about Nash: He's not a feel-good figure. It's a pity the same can't be said for Howard.
  31. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    Aside from all the known material on public record the filmmakers chose not to use, Howard isn't even capable of believably bringing this off.
  32. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Crowe astounds with his technical skill. [7 Jan 2002, p. 82]
  33. Reviewed by: John Powers
    While I don't doubt that Howard's done the best he can, it's sad to see a beautiful mind whittled down by such a plain one.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 296 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 97
  2. Negative: 25 out of 97
  1. Oct 9, 2011
    Through "A Beautiful Mind", neither director Ron Howard or actor Russell Crowe understand what to actually do in this dull film. The lead and tone is tedious and mediocre, with absolutely 0% of plot twists. Full Review »
  2. R.Lopez
    Jan 14, 2009
    A beautiful mind is a truly amazing and beautiful film, and one of the best films that I have ever seen. A beautiful mind tells the story of John Forbes Nash Jr.( portrayed with uncanny brilliance by Russell Crow) A brilliant mathematician and code breaker who's genius is crippled by mental instability and only his devoted wife and friends can help him trough his times of trouble as he looks for the answers in his own life, A beautiful mind is one of the best biography films I've seen yet. It's an amazing portrayal of courage and strength that will show everyone that just because your lost doesn't mean you can't be found. I very highly recommend this amazing film. Full Review »
  3. GustavoH.R.
    Jan 17, 2006
    This conventional yet wonderful biopic is both haunting and heart-warming at the same time. Director Ron Howard conducts the plot with such a compelling sensitivity that will have most people drying up the tears on their faces while watching it. There are surprising plot twists, beautiful imagery and many touching moments. A solid, competent film that deserved every Academy Award it received. Highly recommended for those who enjoy moving, dramatic motion pictures. Full Review »