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This film is the true story of John Nash, one of the great geniuses of the 20 th century, who
was famous for both his theories in math, and for the fact that he suffered from schizophrenia.
The movie follows Nash’s amazing life from the time he arrives at Princeton University as a
young, brilliant and noticeably odd West Virginia math student, until his life as an old man who
has won the Nobel Prize. Over the years, he becomes recognized as a unique intellect whose
theories have greatly influenced not only mathematics, but various other academic areas from
economics to biology.

The focus of this movie is on Nash’s struggle with the terrible illness of schizophrenia,
which began to affect him while a student at Princeton in the early 1950s. Afterward, his
brilliance led to a teaching and research position at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), the world famous university in Boston. There, Nash’s disease began to grow
worse, but fortunately for him, it was also at MIT that he met Alicia, a brilliant math student of
her own. The two fell in love, and while Alicia did not discover his illness until after they
married, once she realized how sick her husband was, she did all she could to take care of him,
herself, and their new son.

With great determination, John Nash was able to successfully fight back from the
delusions that are a large part of schizophrenia, and while he never was able to get rid of the
disease completely, he became an honored member of the Princeton community. In some ways,
his life is a truly fascinating window on the still unclear relationship between genius and
At the start of the movie “A Beautiful Mind” I never would have thought that John Nash
was a schizophrenic. However, after watching until the middle part of the story, I did notice,
though, an odd and somewhat withdrawn behavior. The hand gestures, the odd stuttering of
words, the way that he looked at people – a paranoid, suspicious way, especially on his rival. He
wanted an “original idea,” portraying what most schizophrenics are – in a high state of
intellectual wonder due to dopamine overload. He manifested delusions, hallucinations, his
speech is somewhat disorganized that you have to listen attentively to follow the flow of rapid
thoughts. His attention with his delusions met the criteria for paranoid schizophrenia. He also
represented what most schizophrenic patients would be to the society. Normal at first, but once
the disorder is uncontrolled, the condition is too obvious to be ignored. His delusions, especially
Parcher, have made him ambivalent. He was drawn to him, but at the same time, afraid of the
“power” that Parcher wields over him. His delusions could be classified as grandiose, for he
thinks that he’s a spy. I never thought that during the first half of the movie, most of it is his
delusions and hallucinations.

In his acute stage, when he was taken in by the doctor, he was constantly being presented with
reality. He was constantly reminded that there was no one there when he was talking to Charles.
His wife showed his “code breaker documents” presenting that his delusion of his being a spy is
not real. His denial of his condition is also typical of schizophrenic patients. His wife is a saint,
being with him for as long as she could is really amazing. However, you could see the care giver
strain on her when she’s paranoid over the incident where she heard him talking to the garbage
man, thinking it was unreal. She exhibited displacement when she screamed at the comfort room
of their bed, throwing the glasses and whatever she could break.

Many issues about the medication are apparent when John is at it. He could not function at
his optimum. His meds suppresses dopamine in his brain rendering him unable to think clearly.
He could not function normally. He’s in a dazed state, apathetic state, rendering him unable to
respond to his crying child. The meds also compromised his sexual capacity, making his body
unresponsive to his wife’s advances. Although he is in his stabilizing phase, he was also
handicapped. He noticed his incapacity and decided to withdraw his medications.

As stated with the sudden cessation of medications, his delusions came back, this time
two fold, bringing him again in the acute phase. He then believed that he could be hurt, so he
came back under the “supervision” of Parcher in the world of spies. His “friend” again took care
of his son while the child is taking a bath. He is again responsive, but not responsible due to his

The most painful thing in this story for me is his realization that his best friend Charles
since college is not real. Charles was the only one who “understood” him. He seemed so real,
having the “normal” responses of real people. It was painful for me to watch him let go of the
only one that kept him “sane” throughout his trial with schizophrenia. He then entered his stable
phase, where he realized his delusions are not real. The one that helped him realize that was when
he accidentally hurt his wife and he saw her look at him in freight. He then saw that the little girl
did not age at all making him accept that his delusions are indeed not real, even though he’s not
under medication. This incident is awe-inspiring because he manages to resist his delusions and
confirm that it is not real without his medication and psychiatrist. Only a few people, I think, can
fight back at their disorder.

It was touching that he got the recognition that he wanted. He began teaching again, and
this time, effectively, judging from the responses of his students. When he was unexpectedly
invited for tea after a class in the room of the honored members of the Princeton community, it
was profound to see him getting the pens. And when he got the noble prize, even though it is
laughable that his delusions is lurking at the scene in a straight line fashion, I could not help but
admire that Nash was able to fight the delusions. And he also recognized the role of his wife in
his life. Indeed, without her, he would have been in down the well for the rest of his life.
Movie Review
(Thought Disorders – Schizophrenic Disorder)

Kirby R. Contaoi

Prof. Joanna V. Otilano

Psychiatric Nursing