A Beautiful Mind can be seen in part as both a pathography and a biography in a number of ways. As the film focusses on the progression of the life of John Nash we pathographically see the advancement of his battle with schizophrenia but also explore the personal aspects of his life much as a biography would do. Many of the personal recounts of Nash’s life begin as biographical recounts that turn into a study of how his psychological disorder influences the faucets of his life. These lines overlap as we see John in response to his sickness but also as a husband, father, colleague, and mentor.
Nash is defined apart from his disability in the depiction of the depth of his personal relationships and his mathematical accomplishments. In his initial stage of being a Princeton student, we view him as socially handicapped rather than mentally as we are unaware as viewers of his impending disorder. His time at the school leads to the portrayal of his personal life and the introduction to Alicia who later becomes his wife. In relation to his private life, away from the disease, the feature puts emphasis on details excluding schizophrenia showing that there is much more to him. Putting these details forward before introducing us to the handicap John must live with gives us background to the essence of the man he was before the disease took hold of his mind. The Nobel Prize he receives in the closing scenes invoke the ideal of documenting his life’s greatest achievements over health hinderances.
After we become aware of confirmed mental instability, some events that previously had taken place are looked at afterwards through pathography. Instantly his time at Princeton turns into the induction of his delusions concerning his non-existent roommate, Charles. The biopic takes a turn to then focus on the apparent loss of mind and question the delusions as a direct result of the pressure to create and disprove theories. In the demise of mental stability the spotlight shifts to increased mental episodes and shock treatment leading to the ultimate acceptance of such dishonest delusions. We observe the comfort John finds in his instability in the argument that not taking his medication enables him to complete his work that he believes is for the government. The film does detect the demise of John’s mental health as it is a major part of his being but goes further in extent to which we watch his life before and after control is found.