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Russell Crowe is quite awesome as Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, a man with a brilliant mind who battles schizophrenia.

Mastering Nash’s odd gait, evasive eyes and sly humour (‘I’m quite balanced: I have a chip on both shoulders’), Crowe proves his acting range goes beyond tough-guy roles.

The film is slow to start, but Crowe gets classy support from Paul Bettany, as his cheery Princeton University roommate, Ed Harris, as a shady government man, and Christopher Plummer, as a shrink.

Best of all, Jennifer Connelly won an Oscar as Nash’s devoted wife.