I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Ron Howard film, A Beautiful Mind, but considering its success, both critically and financially, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that you have. If you haven’t, please watch the film before continuing to read.
The popular interpretation of the storyline blurs the line between Nash’s actual work with the Pentagon and his hallucinations. It also writes Charles Herman off as a hallucination. It makes Nash out to be schizophrenic. Even the director states this is the case but, either Ron Howard is lying and everyone else is wrong, or Ron Howard is a terrible storyteller. Based on the critical reception, I’m going to have to guess the former.
Early in the film, Charles kicks a desk out of the window to get John Nash to hang up his work for a while and have some fun. Clearly, everyone else saw the desk get kicked out the window. Clearly, they didn’t blame Nash. Ron Howard’s official statement is that Nash did it and projected it to his hallucination, but that isn’t a plausible storyline. Even if it were completely plausible for those instances to be the case, the fact that the school didn’t hold John responsible for destruction of property is irrefutable evidence that Charles was a real character and the fact that a lot of characters couldn’t see him shows that either John or Charles (perhaps both) had superhuman capabilities or that the characters that couldn’t see Charles were the ones that were sick.
I think the most accurate interpretation of this film is a thinking man trapped in a feeling people’s world. He’s charged to find codes in magazines that may or may not exist. He’s questioning things that are while everyone else accuses him of being sick as a result. And, being inspired by a true story about a man who was wrongfully accused of being sick, it makes a lot of sense.
So, then, why is Ron Howard lying and saying John Nash is the sick one? Well, that’s open to speculation, but I would guess it’s either that the studio didn’t want him to be the sane one in a world of crazies and made him shut up, or because he was afraid of being called crazy in admitting it. Either way, it’s clear that, in that film, Nash wasn’t the crazy one. Most of the other characters were.