As the story unfolds, Nash is able to work through his illness to (in his words) "matter" in the world. This film is essentially a story of how a brilliant man was able to live with the vicissitudes of a debilitating mental illness to attain a true sense of accomplishment, or some would say, even a sense of greatness.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
At the beginning of the film, John Nash arrives as a new graduate student at Princeton University. He is a recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Prize for mathematics. He meets his roommate Charles, a literature student, who soon becomes his best friend. He also meets a group of other promising math and science graduate students, Martin Hansen, Sol, and Bender, with whom he strikes up an awkward friendship.
The first part of the film establishes Nash's intellectual stamina and his propensity to be too outspoken in his social life. He admits that he is better with numbers than people, saying, "I don't like them much, and they don't much like me." He sometimes goes out to a bar with his fellow students to try to meet women, but is always unsuccessful. However, the experience is what ultimately inspires his fruitful work in the concept of governing dynamics, a theory in mathematical economics. After the conclusion of Nash's studies as a student at Princeton, he accepts a prestigious appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with his friends Sol and Bender. It is while at this post that he meets Alicia, a student with whom he falls in love and eventually marries. While at Princeton, Nash runs into his former roommate Charles and meets Charles's young niece Marcee. He also encounters a mysterious Department of Defense agent, William Parcher. Nash is invited to a United States Department of Defense facility (The Pentagon) to crack a complex encryption of an enemy telecommunication. Nash is able to decipher the code mentally. Parcher observes Nash's performance from...
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