The film A Beautiful Mind effectively portrays the life of a person living with schizophrenia and offers viewers several comments on the effects of mental illness. However, it doesn’t just limit the scope to simply this aspect. Being a genius does not preclude the possibility that someone has a mental illness such as schizophrenia, and such is the case in the character of John Nash, the mathematician and Nobel Prize winner portrayed in the movie, partially about abnormal psychology, A Beautiful Mind.
Probably the most compelling thing about this film is that it follows the life of a real man with a real disease. It has been considered to be one of the most accurate representations of mental illness in film.
John Nash has schizophrenia and suffers from severe mental illness, as he experiences most, if not all, of the symptoms that are required to make a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The symptoms the viewer of the film “A Beautiful Mind” notices include auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoid ideations, delusional thinking, and a distorted perception of reality.
The viewer of the movie A Beautiful Mind observes how symptoms of schizophrenia have an impact on various aspects of daily life. His relationships with his family, friends, and colleagues are disrupted by the intrusiveness of the symptoms of his mental illness, especially because he is perceived as being so smart and the bizarre behaviors he exhibits are so incongruent with the perceptions that others had of him. The strange behavior provoked by his disorder seem even more difficult to understand because the onset of his mental illness occurs at a later age than is typical. Schizophrenia generally emerges in one’s late teens or twenties, but in Nash’s case, the onset occurs in his thirties.
Once he began his decent into illness, Nash had increasing difficulty relating to the people around him. Even before the onset of his mental illness, he admits that he was not a particularly personable individual, and he had always been more comfortable and satisfied with numbers and his work than with people. Nonetheless, he is able to forge several significant relationships, including a romantic relationship that leads to his marriage to Alicia and a son (who in real life also has schizophrenia). Over time, however, the increased frequency, intensity, and persistence of his symptoms prove to be incredibly distracting, and even dangerous, putting the people that he loves in difficult and unsafe situations. While experiencing a hallucination, Nash leaves his son, who he is bathing, in water by himself, and the child almost drowns. When he is not experiencing symptoms and when he can recognize that he has been hallucinatory, and he feels terribly remorseful about such episodes. However, characteristic of schizophrenia, when he is in the throes of a hallucination or other symptom, he finds it impossible to distinguish between reality and the state into which he has entered. This state proves difficult for people, even those who love him deeply, to understand. When he is symptomatic, the power of the hallucinatory figures who haunt him, and encourage him to harm his loved ones, and it is as if he never knew or cared about them. This condition is especially difficult for his wife, Alicia, who is affected most by Nash’s illness and who is in the difficult position of making painful decisions about his treatment for schizophrenia. This real life story displays the severity of this disorder and the hardships that come along with it. A not well known disorder is brought to light in this film.