Significant details about Charles Herman

Scene: John meets Charles for the first time (1) 

  • Outgoing
  • Confident
  • Alcoholic
  • Amusing
  • Unmotivated
  • Blunt
  • Intrusive
  • Rambunctious
  • Gestural
  • Charismatic
  • Insightful into John (character, needs, thoughts)
  • Ambiguous
  • Understanding
What is John doing/what is going on around John when Charles appears?
Watching people socialise and interact, he seems envious about what is going on below.

What film techniques are used in specific scenes to introduce Charles?

Verbal – Operatic choir music on his record player, indicates that he has feelings, but has different ways of socialising. It isn’t very traditional. He is an acquired taste in terms of being a friend. He doesn’t always fit in.

High angle, Close up, High Angle Point of View

Close up shot shows him looking concerned

Verbal, we hear his cough before we actually see him. 

Use of lighting represents a revelation, covers John’s face, his revelation is the appearance of Charles who is shadowed in this specific scene.

What film techniques are used to show Charles’ behaviour?

When he comes out of the shower we hear him once again before we see him, John is occupying himself with maths on the window whilst other students are down below playing football. This shows that John reverts to maths when he doesn’t fit in.

We see a conflict in John’s mind, should he be out playing football or inside studying to be the best mathematician. Charles tries to distract John and is displayed as his subconscious, John is deciding whether or not he is in the right, once Charles brings out alcohol he succumbs to it and goes drinking, (by himself)John justifies in his mind rebellious behaviour through the existence of Charles.

John justifies, in his mind, any rebellious behaviour through the existence of Charles.


What does Charles represent in John’s life?

  • Charles represents a friend for John
  • He is the side of John that he maybe wishes could shine through, a more rebellious, less serious, less perfectionist person.


  • Charles studies English and so is not a threat to John’s success, so he can become a friend
  • He is a delusional character, also a symbol for a part of John’s self-consciousness and a need.
  • “The truth is, I don’t like people much.” John Nash says to Charles
  • “Mathematics is never going to lead you to a higher truth.” Charles to John depicts that John is struggling with his purpose in life.

Significant details about Charles Herman 

Scene: Library/Bar (2)

What is John doing/what is going on around John when Charles appears?

John is attempting to find a truly unique idea, doing maths. There is very little people in the library, so maybe it is late at night or there is a social event on. John has been in the library for 2 days. For 2 days he has been watching the outside world and has been depicting mathematical equations showing the movement of this.

What film techniques are used in specific scenes to introduce Charles?

Long shot showing a nearly empty library, John is sitting on a window seat. Slight light shining onto John (revelations). “You know Hansen has just published another paper?”, says John. He is having a personal conflict.

Once again we hear Charles before we see him, shown through a point of view medium shot.

“And this is a woman who is chasing a man who stole her purse” – John. The quote is disturbing as he derived a mathematical equation of this act that he did not even try to stop. This shows that he is losing touch with the world and losing any sense of morality.

Charles introduces another delusional character, his niece. John has created another one connected to Charles to provide more comfort to him to deal with his stress as he falls deeper into a delusional state.

Two shot of both men – “When did you last eat” asks Charles, showing his placement as a friend who cares about him.

We see a long shot of John, with arms in the air looking free. Charles releases him from the isolation of the need for success etc. all the stress which he is going through.

What film techniques are used to show Charles’ behaviour?


What does Charles represent in John’s life?

Shows that Charles represents freedom for John and is an excuse for him to be human and not solely focus on his maths. Charles is also going to provide another support structure.

Scene in the Bar –

John is playing pool by himself, Charles is watching, John looks to him for recognition, Hansen turns up and so says “Who’s winning? You or You?”

John approaches a girl but his lack of social ability leaves him embarrassed. Charles then reappears briefly as he disappeared when Hansen and his friends turned up.

Film techniques – Point of view shot of Charles clapping for John before panning to Martin Hansen.

John gets slapped by a girl, Martin etc. can be heard laughing, Charles speaks before we see him once again, Charles exits through a door which someone else opens, at a medium shot. John does not appear to be listening to Charles, shows that he is inside his head.

The purpose of Charles in this scene is as help for John to further deal with his failures and his inadequacy with women and socialising.

Significant details about Charles Herman

Scene: ‘John hits the wall’ (scene 3) 

What is John doing/what is going on around John when Charles appears?
When Charles appears John is staring at a window, which is covered in maths, it is the only thing that he can actually see. he then smashes his head against the window as he cannot seem to find any maths.


What film techniques are used in specific scenes to introduce Charles?

A close up of John looking at his maths on the window. He smashes his head before Charles arrive which is shown through another close-up. We hear the Charles speak before we see him again. Medium shot of Charles pleading wth John to stop and go out.

What film techniques are used to show Charles’ behaviour?

Close up of John Nash trying to figure out his own idea, surrounded by numbers, all that he can see “I can’t see it, I can’t see it.”
Close up of him smashing his head against the window – Charles then arrives and tries to bring him out of this cycle whilst John says “This is all I am.”

“Got to face the wall……..” , says John, talking about how he has to conform to education but he wants to not be confined to basic understanding and classes in his search for a truly original idea.

Close up of the men looking out the window, long shot of the two of them sitting against the wall behind the window.

What does Charles represent in John’s life?

Charles teaches him to not conform and wants him to as well, saying that his problems are outside where he has been working.

In the scene where the desk is pushed out of the window Charles represents a

Notes –
Charles first usage of hurtful words and actions towards John foreshadows future involvement of them.

“Goddamn it, Charles! What the hell is your problem?” – First instance of John taking control over these delusions and pushing them down.

Second Bar –

John discovers his truly unique and original idea from the bar where the appearance of a blonde woman sparks a revelation

Respond now!