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12 Best Movies Based on Real Life Geniuses

August 29, 2017
9 min read

It is hard to encompass a definitive meaning for the word genius. Some construe it as an individual with prodigal abilities, way beyond its years, while some associate it with arts (a piano genius is as rare as a maths genius). Either ways, it is prudent and advisable not to get into a tussle debating the exact meaning. In an effort to keep everyone happy, which is our primary goal, we’ll take into account all plausible definitions put forth. Hollywood has magnanimously celebrated the intellect and talents of the world’s very best. From weary and taciturn mathematicians, to glorified and high-tempo musicians, the golden industry has seen it all. People have obviously responded favorably, which has prompted big studios to channelize their focus on making quality and authentic cinema. Let’s have a look at the list of the best real life genius movies. Happy reading!

12. Ray (2004)

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If you want the blues, just listen to Ray Charles. The poetic barracks of his ballads of life and gospel will win you over, and deliver you in a state of permanent happiness. His biopic, which starred the incongruously talented Jamie Foxx, is a mixed bag of beans. Though the performances were sublime (Foxx won the Best Actor award), the narrative, which moves at a glacial pace, was a huge let-down. The music was spot on, so was the endearing cinematography. But the director’s minimal attention to the repealing responses from the people around him proved to be the reason for its inability to capture the essence of those times.

11. Creation (2009)

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A youg and bidding naturalist, Charles Darwin, faces criticism and is outcast from the society due to his fundamental theories on evolution. But his biggest roadblock is his own wife, whose religious and traditionalist views are in direct contravention of his evolutionary theories. Without fanboying, Cumberbatch was gruesome in the movie. His subtle and discreet smirks and rolling of the eyes totally went under the radar, proving how good he actually was. Bettany, who played the character of Darwin, shared an effective partnership with the beautiful Jennifer Conelly. The mellow writing and lax direction were a let down. Nonetheless, a good watch.

10. The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

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Sridharan Ramanujan is perhaps the most revered and talked about mathematicians of the country. His amazing journey from being a nominal clerk at a pawn-shop in a small village in India, to getting a thesis published by the Trinity College in England, is as unbelievable as it sounds. The young Ramanujan’s life takes a pleasant discourse when he gets an invitation from the Trinity College to pursue his dream of becoming a mathematician. On reaching there, he is subject to racial discrimination and religious persecution, which push him off track. But his strong will and determined head pull him back from oblivion, proving to the world his intellect on white paper and with black ink.

9. Shine (1996)

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Oh Geoffrey Rush. My compassionate love affair with the great man’s incredulous talents began pretty late, with his role as the linguist Leonard in ‘King’s Speech’. It has since ceased to stop, with ‘Shine’ being my favorite movie of him. He inhabited the character of David Helfgott, one of the greatest musicians to have ever lived. The movie chronicled his tough life, especially his childhood, which was vitiated by his dysfunctional and abusive father. Despite the testing times, he comes back to the public view  a legend, winning the hearts of people with effortless charm and an enkindled urge to prove himself the best. The mislayers that gave shape to his character, are presented in a positive light, which for once, is a pleasant surprise.

8. A Dangerous Method (2011)

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There’s a warning from our side before you watch it: not for the weak-hearted. Because, the scenes involving Michael Fassbender and Kiera Knightley will render you paralyzed and horrified. The intense tension that they are so tightly wrought in, will inherently come over you and make the journey uncomfortable. Carl Jung, an impassioned and pragmatic scientist, is approached by a grieving Sabrina Spielern, who pleads for a cure to hysteria. The former is bent on trying out Freud’s risky ways and measures. The successful treatment is followed by an in-person meeting of the trio. Things take a turn for the ugly thereafter. Believe me, it is damaging.

7. The Theory of Everything (2014)

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A story of one of the most adored and celebrated scientists of our century, ‘The Theory of Everything’ is so much more. A visceral and tangible exposition of his vanguard work on the concept of black holes and particle theory, the movie is well-crafted and appealing. Charmed with a splendid and mind-boggling performance from Eddie Redmayne, the film does justice to the great man, who battled ALS and society mocking to become one of the greatest ever. The ground struggles, which he had to go through, in parlance with his own family, are truly terrifying and endearing. His carefree style of carrying himself, and his witty humor, were enough to get us hooked on his genius.

6. Hidden Figures (2016)

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“A year in which white people save jazz, and black people save NASA.” This particular quote by Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the 2017 Oscars, indicates respect towards this film. The film is a story about a group of three inspired and inspiring mathematicians who were the brains behind the launching of John Glen into space, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. The deftly acted film is a compliment to the strong personalities women of color, who withered racial storms and sexist storms to achieve the impossible. Well, the word itself says “I’m-POSSIBLE”.

5. Walk the Line (2005)

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Joaquin Phoenix’s melancholic melody of distraught life experiences and corked fury still gives me the chills. His ‘Folsom Prison’ performance is something which I consider before the original one sung by Cash. A biopic about the “sad man” of the industry, it makes resolute of its intentions to glorify a misunderstood personality. “Walk the Line’ is drawn from the lyrics of one of his songs, all of which were created through his own tumultuous experiences in life. Traversing his journey from a nobody, to the somebody, and his romantic interludes in between, the film turned out to be a critical and commercial hit. The film’s plot is reflective of his life, marred by frustrating downs and hapless ups. The music paragon was a jewel in our crown of melodies, one who will be sorely missed.

4. Beautiful Mind (2001)

I completely agree with the film winning the Oscar for Best Film in the year. Through a beautifully created story, and a thoroughly engaging narrative, director Ron Howard relayed to us a sense of sorrow and the great conflict that bound John Nash from functioning normally. Inspired from the Pulitzer-winning novel by Sylvia Nasar, the film is an in-depth dissection of Nash’s chronic paranoid schizophrenia, and its regressive consequences on his life. Even though a lot of the aspects of his portrayal have been inaccurate, an enduring sense of Nash’s hysterical and extra-ordinary discernment of his ordinary surroundings brought to light the problems that patients suffering from the macabre disease face. A brilliant cast, led by the efficacious Russel Crowe, and some sensible piece of writing make the film a success story and one to watch.

3. Imitation Game (2014)

The sole credit for the human civilization’s luxurious comforts of a computer go to British mathematician Alan Turing. ‘The Imitation Game’, starring the scintillating Benedict Cumberbatch, centralizes the former’s pioneering role in dismantling Germany’s encryption machine, Enigma. He’s hired by the British military to deal with coded messages sent by the Germans, which they use to communicate. Turing’s out of the box-approach and avant-garde invention won Britain the war, and led to the downfall of the Nazi-pro German regime. The film’s veering exploration of Turing’s homosexuality, and his unwavering relationship with his wife, gave it a much-needed sentimental flavor. All in all, a sumptuous treat for your never-ending appetite.

2. Steve Jobs (2015)

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Steve Jobs was one of the most controversial figures of the 21st Century. Plagiarism allegations, a lawsuit initiated against himself by his own wife, and his crazy dream to change the world. Sounds unbelievable right? STarring Michael Fassbender as the titular characters, ‘Steve Jobs’ was a huge improvement on one of Jobs’ previosu incarnations on screen, ‘Jobs’, that starred Ashton Kutcher. Boyle’s fluid direction and the charimstic performances from the lead ensured that we got to have a psuedo-first hand experience of the unveiling of the Apple Mac. The movie centralizes on his tumultuous life, and his insouciant behavior towards other people. Tightly wound up in his dream to change the world, Jobs was one of a kind. I love the words that follow:

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

1. The Social Network (2010)

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It was really blasphemous that this masterpiece, based on the rise of Mark Zuckerberg to the world’s youngest billionaire, didn’t win the Best Picture award at the Oscars. I have hardly seen a movie with a better and more engaging narrative than this one. It moves at a brisk pace, objectively giving equal attention to all characters and their development. It is told in a non-linear story-line, where one is of the present day, when Zuckerberg is being sued by Eduardo Saverin, his former best friend who was deceived into giving up his shares in the company, and the other the making of the Zuckerberg in his college days. Fincher absolutely pelts this one out of the park, delivering a movie that will live in our conscience for decades to come.

Read More: Best Entrepreneur Movies

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