I categorised this post under “book review”, though there is a book under this same title, I’m writing about the 2001 film, directed by Ron Howard.
The book/film is based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel prize winner in Economic sciences, who was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia, with delusions and hallucinations.
I started to watch the film without knowing it has anything to do with mental illnesses, just thought it’s just another biographical film (like one that I just watched last week, “The man who knew infinity”, based on the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematical genius).
It is a film portraying paranoid schizophrenia well, so well that when we, as audience see things through the eyes of Russel Crowe (John Nash), we might not even realise that those are all delusions and hallucinations, and couldn’t differentiate that those are not even reality.
The film also emphasises the importance of family supports and continuation of medication (which according to some sources of the web, is not based on what John Nash really did). During the later part of his life, he got on without taking any medicine, would still hallucinate but just do not respond to them. This is the part that I personally like in particular, sometimes medicine may not stop all the hallucinations completely, but when you’re aware which is reality and which aren’t, you can carry on with life, with them being there. There was a scene when a man approached him, and he had to ask his student who walked past, “Can you see him?”, to make sure that the man was real, not his hallucination!
I’d recommend it to family and friends of those who are diagnosed as schizophrenia, it does help understanding the illness better to quite an extent, and of course for those who’d like to understand the illness better.