Release year: 2001
Duration: 135 minutes
Movie category: Biography, Drama
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Sylvia Nasar (book)
Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Jason Gray-Stanford, Judd Hirsch, Austin Pendleton, Vivien Cardone, Jillie Simon, Victor Steinbach, Tanya Clarke
This movie is a hymn to the power of the human Will. Every man from the moment of his birth has this power within him. But, it is up to him how he trains it and how he increases it during his lifetime.
In eastern philosophy, difficulties of life are considered to be “trials” that life puts in front of us in order to fight and to become stronger. To succeed, we need “Will Power”. All the great personalities (artists, scientists, politicians), all who opened new horizons to the world used Will power to overcome the obstacles of torpidity that one’s environment puts in front of him.
This skill is what differentiates people. That’s why nothing is equally difficult for everybody. Every man has his limits to the use his Will power (the higher the limit the bigger the strength needed). Jesus Christ said that a man has the strength to move mountains once he has the will to do so.
If one looks at everyday life, we find examples of heroism and strength. We can see handicapped people with no hands, able to draw. We can see people with obvious physical deficiencies gain distinctions in sports or other cultural activities.
In ancient times, this was taught through myths. Hercules, Theseus, Jason (in Greek mythology) were prominent models of human Will (regardless of their virtues). In these examples, there is no ambiguity that the main obstacle is the mind.
Our mind usually puts obstacle within us. The Mind can present a small hill as a huge mountain. It is very important to be able to control his mind; and not to allow it to fly around and disorient himself.
In India, a monkey symbolizes this mind; he likes to climb and jump from one tree to another. He likes change and dislikes steady ideas. Today, in the information age (not knowledge age), in the opinion age (not judgement age), in the age of fast changing images, the monkey is highly satisfied. But the loser is man himself, who is very easily disoriented and manipulated.
When the mind is “out of control”, psychoses and illnesses appear like schizophrenia.
In this movie, the protagonist finds the way and strength to an inner battle. Being a mathematics genius, it is gradually revealed that he suffers from schizophrenia. Although he is a genius, how can he fight his mind that shows him things as real; that are not? People that he knows for years, people he grew up with, studied with and had fun with are just his imagination.
How easy is it for someone to accept that? The easiest and less painful thing is to build a story of persecution by those who want to shatter this fake reality. This would drive him deeper into madness.
Suddenly, he has an inspiration. He realises that the people in his imagination do not get older. Although he has known them for years, they remain, as they were the first day he met them.
The fact that time does not influence them, guides him to truth and is a way to fight against them. But it is different realising the flaw than being able to fight against it.
The more you try to oppose it, the bigger it becomes!
After struggling, the hero finds a solution. He tries not to feed these thoughts; not to fight against them, but to ignore them. These thought were born and there is no power to kill them, he has to let them dissolve through time by themselves. He does not deal with them; he carries them in everything he does. He is scared but goes on with this fear in his life. The thought forms are still there but they do not possess him.
He manages with his Will to change his perspective of life. He uses something more powerful than his everyday mind and this was a heroic act on its own.
Just like Theseus, he managed with the Ariadna’s hint to escape from the labyrinth of his mind. He indeed, had a “beautiful mind” …