Throughout history, there have been millions of creative, analytical and even ‘insane’ geniuses. Some misunderstood and even hated for their beautiful and complex God given gifts. Some of them never earning their worth until well after their death and others, still unknown. Something we can take away from these inspirational and sometimes sad stories is that not everyone is going to understand or accept you, BUT if you tend to think ‘outside the box’ and show conviction in embracing that with the world, who knows, maybe there will be a film about you some day!
So what defines a Genius anyway? And, would you want to be one? This week we were inspired by some of the most brilliant brains portrayed on film. Put on your thinking cap and get ready to get your mind blown!
For most of Amadeus, Miloš Forman‘s Oscar-busting adaptation of Peter Schaffer‘s wildly successful play, the genius at its heart is not at odds with his god-given gifts. Mozart is portrayed by Tom Hulce as willfully crude and, at times, especially when it comes to money, his own worst enemy. Neither society nor love and relationships hold him back: if anything, he loves as easily as he jots down a concerto.
2. Shine (1996)
Based on the real-life story of Australian pianist David Helfgott, Shine shows what happens when a genius is pushed too far. A child prodigy, he suffers a severe mental breakdown when his friends and family, in particular his domineering father, force him to perform.
Geoffrey Rush won a Best Actor Oscar for this portrayal of the adult David, who, after several years, makes one of those grand, standing-ovation-type comebacks we’ve come to expect in films about broken geniuses.
3. Good Will Hunting (1997)
This Oscar-winning movie brought its stars and writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to our attention, and was the first in a number of films at the turn of the century to find genius in a modest man: in this case, a Harvard janitor who spends his spare time solving obscure mathematical equations. Its blue-collar protagonist Will Hunting is anything but simple, however. His journey crystallized the idea that genius, wherever it strikes, brings with it serious emotional challenges, albeit nothing that can’t be solved by the love of a good woman and a hug from Robin Williams.
4. Hidden Figures (2016)
As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers”, we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history’s greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Gobels Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
5. Séraphine (2008)
While some artists are famous for their gifts in their lifetime, many more struggle in obscurity despite immense talent. Séraphine Louis (played in this film by Yolande Moreau) is just one person: having worked most of her life as a maid and servant to a wealthy family, she creates intricate and original primitivist paintings.
Her talent doesn’t come withouts its drawbacks, however. The first stirrings of success upsets her mental balance. Moreau’s sensitive, withdrawn performance won her a César Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, one of six the film won that year.
To discover more genius’ on film check out the 10 films that explore the brilliant mind. We hope you learn something new today!