4th September 2017


Marcee (Charles Herman’s niece)


The Princeton Library

The delusional character, Charles Herman, first mentions Marcee when John has been in the Princeton Library for “two days” and he is becoming progressively frustrated at his inability to find an “original idea” for his Mathematics thesis.


John says: “In competitive behavior, someone always loses.” Charles replies, “We my niece knows that John and she’s about this high.”


The park


John’s relationship with Alicia Larde is developing. They have been on a number of dates and despite John’s awkward, often unpredictable approach with women, Alicia has been understanding and interested to progress the relationship.


A close up shows John deciphering codes on a magazine page; sunlight is shining on the page where John is drawing. A close-up in front of John shows his unshaven face, slightly untidy hair and tie that is not neatly tied. The viewer hears a girl’s voice, “What are you doing?” A point of view shot (from John’s perspective) pans and a neatly dressed child of about 8 years old, stands in front of John. John says matter of factly, “Trying to isolate patterned reoccurrences within periodicals over time. And you?” The little girl states, “You talk funny Mr Nash.” A long shot shows John and the little girl looking at each other as he sits on the grass. John asks, “Do I know you?” The little girl responds, “My uncle says you’re very smart but not very nice and I shouldn’t pay no mind if you are mean to me.” John asks, “And who might you’re uncle be?” In a close up, John looks to the left and the viewer hears, “the prodigal roommate returns.” Panning and a point of view shot (from John’s perspective) shows Charles Herman in front of John.


A long shot shows Marcee running in front of John and Charles as they walk. John smiles and Charles explains: “My sister got herself killed in a car crash.” Charles calls out, “Not too far now Marcee” and a long shot shows the little girl running through a group of standing pigeons, waving her arms but the pigeons do not move. Charles continues, “Her cowboy husband was too drunk to know that he was too drunk to drive so I took her in.” In a two shot, John remarks, “She’s so small” and Charles replies, “She’s young, John. That’s how they come.”


As the two men sit on a park bench, John explains that he “met a girl” and “contrary to all probabilities, she finds me attractive on a number of different levels.” Charles pats John on the back and states, “That’s wonderful.” In a two shot, John looks seriously at Charles and says, “Should I marry her?” “Everything’s going well. The job is fine. I have enough money. It all seems to add up. How do you know for sure?” In a close-up, Charles looks intently at John and says, “Nothing’s every for sure, John. That’s the one sure thing I do know.”

Why is Marcee in this scene? What does she represent?

His relationship with Alicia is moving quickly and John has started to think about marriage and family. John is always 5 steps ahead, they have just had their first kiss and he has started to think about marriage and children. Paternal, father or fathers. Marcee meets Johns paternal need, he hasn’t got any way to prepare himself for marriage and family. Charles took Marcee in first, and John thinks if Charles can be a father so can he. Marcee is totally accepting, unconditional love. Trouble shooting with Marcee to see what it is like to have a child. As Marcee runs through the pigeons, they do not fly a way, a hidden message to the viewer showing that they are not real. 

At Harvard University


John’s “work” for William Parcher and the Ministry of Defense is becoming increasingly dangerous. John has been involved in a car chase, has been shot at and is seeing secret agents in black suits outside his classroom at MIT and his home. His relationship with Alicia is also strained, even though she is pregnant.


John is shown in a medium shot to walk up the stairs, outside at Harvard University where he will be giving a guest lecture. The viewer hears, “Uncle John!” and a point of view shot (from John’s perspective) shows Marcee run towards him and embrace him. Charles follows Marcee and says, “Wow, someone needed a hug!” as he places his arms around Marcee and John. Charles explains that they have come to watch John give a “guest lecture.” John is obviously distressed and puts Marcee down. In a close-up, he says, “I got myself into something. I think I might need some help.” Charles places his hand on John’s shoulder and says, “Now you tell me what is it?” but a long shot shows staff from the Mathematics Department call out to John and beckon him to them. John looks at Charles and says, “After?”


John gives his lecture to a room full of Harvard staff and students, however they look concerned and confused as he erratically moves through his content. A point of view shot shows three men in suits walk through the back door. John looks concerned and makes eye-contact in from of him. A point of view shot (from John’s perspective) shows Charles and Marcee sitting in the front row; Charles follows John’s concerned gaze to the back of the room. Marcee can be seen looking at John with her Dr Seuss book on her lap. Ominous non-diegetic music is heard, as John escapes out of a back door of the lecture hall. John is chased by the men in dark suits and finally John is tackled to the ground where a man who introduces himself as “Dr Rosen” gives John a sedative. John is screaming, “Charles, the Russians!” but in a point of view shot, Charles picks up Marcee and stands at a distance from John. As John is being driven away in a car with the men, a point of view shot shows Charles holding Marcee, surrounded by staring people.


Why is Marcee in this scene? What does she represent?

Marcee always has the same ‘Green eggs and Ham’ book with her, it never changes. 

At beginning of scene, Marcee gives him a hug, he needs it due to the stress he is under, car chase, Russian spies he believes are chasing him. He comes to Marcee and Charles because of the stress his other from the other delusional character he has created. As soon as Dr says he is a psychiatrist Charles and Marcee drop back, his delusions and reality cannot coexist when there is conflict. The cost of schizophrenia has cost him his reputation at the university during the scene. None of the aspects of his life, family, work, friends, mix with eachother and he doesnt let them. 

Alicia tries to call Dr Rosen


Alicia has found the garden shed where John has been “decoding” Russian radio transmissions and messages in magazines. She realises that John’s Schizophrenia is back and races to the house to remove her son from a bath with running water. Racing down the stairs, she tries to ring Dr Rosen. William Parcher appears in a point of view shot (from John’s perspective) stating, “You’ve got to stop her, John.” In a close-up, John says, “You leave her out of this” and Alicia is shown looking around saying, “Who are you talking to?” A close-up shows William Parcher raise his gun to Alicia and John moves to defend her but instead knocks her over.” Alicia runs out of the front door, as a close up shows William say, “Finish her.” An additional close-up shows Marcee take John’s hand and a point of view shot shows her face pleading with with John. A close-up also shows Charles state, “Do what he says.”


As the camera spins around John, the viewer sees flashbacks of John’s experiences with Charles, William, his electric shock therapy and Marcee. Mumbling is heard and light flashes, as John says “Charles and Marcee cannot coexist with Alicia.” The voices grow stronger and more insistent. A final close-up of Marcee with a darkened background is shown and she fades out of sight as John’s voice says, “I understand.”


John runs in front of Alicia’s car and she screams to a stop. A close-up through the windscreen shows John say, “She never gets old. Marcee can’t be real because she never gets old.”


Why is Marcee in this scene? What does she represent?

Marcee appears during an intense delusional episode. Marcee draws on his empathy, he is battling between needing to protect his delusional world and the real world, Marcee represents fatherhood and the need to care for his child. There are light flashes during his episode and ends with light on Marcee’s face, light representing revelation and his realization that Marcee never gets old. Marcee is Johns empathetic, passionate side. During this part of his life all the aspects of his life, his work, his family, his friends, and all his delusions show up at the same time, betraying their existence from John.

At John’s house


Dr Rosen, Alicia and John are sitting at the dining room table to discuss John’s mental deterioration. A close-up shows Marcee sitting on the floor playing “jacks.” Dr Rosen asks, “Do you see them now?” Charles appears in a point of view shot (from John’s perspective), at the dining room door. John replies, “Yes.” Dr Rosen asks, “Why did you stop taking your meds?” John replies, “Because I couldn’t do my work, I couldn’t take care of the baby, I couldn’t respond to my wife. You think that’s better than being crazy?” Dr Rosen states, “Schizophrenia is degenerative…. over time you are getting worse.” In a medium shot, John responds, “It’s a problem. That’s all it is. It’s a problem with no solution. And that’s what I do, I solve problems.” An over the shoulder shot shows Dr Rosen say, “This isn’t Math. You can’t come up with a formula to change the way you experience the world….You can’t reason your way out of this.” John yells, “Why not?!”

Dr Rosen responds, “Because your mind is where the problem is in the first place.” John is determined: “I can do this…I can work it out…All I need is time.”


John looks up and says, “Is that the baby?” In a close-up, Alicia states, “The baby is at my mother’s. John.” A point of view shot shows Marcee reading her Dr Seuss book and humming and smiling at John. Dr Rosen warns, “the fantasies may take over entirely.”


Why is Marcee in this scene? What does she represent?


John returns to Princeton


John and Alicia believe that if John is in familiar surroundings the delusions (and schizophrenia) may become easier to handle. John asks Martin Hanson, an old rival and now Head of the Mathematics Department, if he can “hang around” and sit in on a few classes. Martin approves John’s request but the delusions continue to appear.


In a long shot, John is seen walking up the university steps and Charles and Marcee walk behind him. John nears the room where he will sit in on a Maths class and a close-up, point of view shot (from John’s perspective) shows Marcee staring longingly at John. Peaceful orchestral non-diegetic music is heard and Charles steps in front of John: “John, you can’t ignore me forever.” In an over the shoulder shot, John says, “Charles, you’ve been a very good friend to me. The best. But I won’t talk to you again. I just can’t.” In a reverse close-up, Charles looks upset. In an over the shoulder shot (from John), John is shown to bend down and speak to Marcee who is about to cry. John says, “Same goes for you baby girl.” In a close-up, John kisses Marcee on the head and brushes her hair back with his hand. The Maths lecturer walks out of his classroom and in a point of view shot (from his perspective) see John stroking the air. John says “goodbye” to the delusions and walks towards the lecturer. In a long shot, William Parcher appears at the end of the darkened corridor. John turns away as the camera pans and he says, “I wondered if I might audit your course.” The man says, “It’s an honour, Professor Nash.”


Why is Marcee in this scene? What does she represent?

Montage sequence shows John aging, and Charles, Marcee, and William continue to be seen by him. John has to cut them off, he makes a decision to say goodbye and to never talk to him again. They gradually appear less in the film and at a distance, he never lets them in his space. 

Schizophrenia, unless it’s medicated, with almost always never leave a person life.

Resisting the delusions:


John continues to go to Princeton each day. A long shot shows Charles and Marcee sitting on a stair as John walks past. Charles says: “It’s never going to work John. You’re just humiliating yourself.” John turns to look at Charles, then turns away. Charles calls out: “It’s pathetic! You are being pathetic. I’m ashamed of you.”

The musical overture is heard as John stands in front of a blackboard full of Mathematical equations. A medium shot shows John looking in front of him and a reverse medium shot shows William Parcher smiling back at John. John turns away and rubs the equations off the board.


The scene changes and John is older. He walks up the same stairs at Princeton and the camera moves behind Marcee, showing her in a medium shot with her arms outstretched, holding her Dr Seuss book, wanting John to hug her. In a point of view shot, John moves away from Marcee and she stops smiling, dropping her arms.


At the end of the film, the viewer is shown the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden in 1994. John is awarded his prize and attributes his life’s success to his wife, Alicia. When the ceremony is over, his son goes to “call for the car” and John wraps Alicia’s shawl around her shoulders. In a point of view shot, John sees Marcee holding Charles’ hand and William Parcher stands beside them. Thoughtful orchestral music plays and Alicia says, “What’s wrong?” John looks back at Alicia and says, “Nothing at all.” The two walk towards the exit of the building.


Why are the delusions (including Marcee) shown in these scenes? What do they /she represent?


Respond now!


A Beautiful Mind