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What happens when a world-renowned scientist, crushed by the loss of his eldest daughter, formulates a theory in conflict with religious dogma? This is the story of Charles Darwin and his master-work "The Origin of Species". It tells of a global revolution played out within the confines of a small English village; a passionate marriage torn apart by the most dangerous idea in history; and a theory saved from extinction by the logic of a child. Written by
Slightly Gothic insight to Charles Darwin, the man.
As you sit there, quietly evolving, spare a thought for Charles Darwin. He was more than the venerable man with beard you may remember from your schoolbooks. He had a wife and children, and spent much of the long hiatus between writing his big theory and actually publishing it, coping with his wife, beautiful Emma, who, if she looked at all like actress Jennifer Connelly, was beautiful, but not at all ready to give up on God. She was also having to deal with Darwin's all-consuming guilt over the fatal illness of his eldest daughter, for which he seemed to have believed he was responsible in at least one way.
This, Charles Darwin's homelife, is colourfully evoked in the slightly Gothic new film, Creation. As it opens with a flashback to a failed attempt to steal 'savage' children from a Pacific island and take them home to convert them into Good Christians, it has us on its side from the start; even more as it nods to Francois Truffaut's 'L'Enfant Sauvage'. Paul Bettany as the man himself is on-screen most of the time, like a contestant in the Channel Four 'big brother house' permanently in close-up. The way the story jumps backwards and forwards in time gives it the feeling of a ghost story too. And there are other pieces of Darwin's life we rarely get to think about, such as the relationship he built up with the female ape, stolen from her jungle family and living in solitary confinement in an English zoo until her death.
All in all, it's quite an emotional roller-coaster, although not at the expense of recreating the world of the late Victorians very convincingly.
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