Schizophrenia Ron Howard's 2001 Film Biography of Term Paper

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Schizophrenia

Ron Howard's 2001 film biography of the life of John Nash, A Beautiful Mind, delves into the world of a man suffering from schizophrenia. However, the film treats the disease delicately, without offering too many stereotypes or classifications of mental illness. Rather, the audience is aware that behind Nash's genius is a disturbed, albeit "beautiful" mind. Russell Crowe plays Nash, a brilliant mathematician and professor. His doctoral thesis work is hailed by MIT and he begins his teaching assignment there and is also offered a position by the United States government as a cryptographer because of his ability to decipher codes and number patterns quickly. Nash also falls in love with one of his students at MIT, Alicia (Jennifer Connelly) and the couple gets married. Nash's delusions become more and more pronounced and eventually he is diagnosed with schizophrenia and is forced to undergo treatments. The treatments in the film are accurate according to the era of Nash's diagnosis. Although A Beautiful Mind does not perfectly represent Nash's life, Ron Howard displays with sensitivity the conflicted inner world of the schizophrenic and also addresses the needs and feelings of the sufferer's close friends and family members.

One succinct definition of the symptoms of schizophrenia according to the text is "a pattern of extremely disturbed thinking, emotion, perception, and behavior that seriously impairs the ability to communicate and relate to others and disrupts most other aspects of daily functioning." The disturbed mental functioning of schizophrenia does not have anything to do with intelligence, as is evident in the story of John Nash. Nash exhibited his mathematical genius while being trapped by the inability to think clearly about much of anything else. The disturbed thinking that this definition of schizophrenia refers to affects both content and patterns of thoughts. Schizophrenics often make up words (neologisms) and form random associations with unrelated events or items. In A Beautiful Mind, John Nash often spoke in a jumbled manner that was indicative of his condition. Moreover, schizophrenic speech reflects jumbled and chaotic thinking. John Nash frequently spouted off sentences that made no sense, that were formed from a conglomeration of words that meant something only to Nash. The manner in which Nash spoke was one of the main reasons why A Beautiful Mind accurately reflects the condition of schizophrenia.

Another notable symptom of schizophrenia is the presence of delusions. In A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard is able to get inside of the mind of a schizophrenic by showing his delusions as being real; the audience believes Nash's delusions for a good portion of the film. First, Nash believes that he is working for the United States government on a continual…

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