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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
A riveting exploration into the life of a man whose imagination expanded the boundaries of common belief.
On the Origin Of Darwin.
In my opinion he is the unofficial founder of freethinking. He may not have been the first to challenge the beliefs of Christianity but upon the publication of his literary work, "On The Origin Of Species", everything changed.
By everything I mean the very purpose of life and a step closer on mans endless journey for meaning. Science took a rapid leap forward in its race with religion and subsequently modern science was established.
For Britain this proved both a shining moment of conquest and a deadly blow to their status amongst the Vatican Church. Needless to say it's been over a century since Charles Darwin passed away leaving only his work to be marveled at by modern scientists, and his life to be immortalized by modern filmmakers.
Who better to do so than BBC films with their adaptation of Randal Keynes' (a distant relative of Charles Darwin) biography entitled "Annie's Box". The book was written to tell the tragic tale of Charles and Emma's eldest daughter Ann Elizabeth Darwin.
Her life was cut dismally short due to a strange illness that is yet to be identified. Our story picks up after Darwin's, who is played by British talent Paul Bettany, voyage around the world, but before having penned his most famous work. He lives a troubled life in the countryside of England with his family and loving wife.
His wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly), a devout Christian, doesn't share her husbands love of science and for the most part tries to ignore his research. This barrier has an awful affect on Charles' health that dwindles due to an inner battle that forces him to choose between science and religion.
His only crutch is his eldest daughter Annie (Martha West) who manages to evoke her father's happiness in a way no one else can. But his relationship with his daughter is beginning to way heavy on the rest of his family who feel rejected by a man who is struggling to come to terms with reality.
Those who know the history of Darwin's life will be overwhelmed to find a film that so justly portrays his most personal events. Directed by Jon Amiel (Entrapment) and written by John Collee, "Creation" travels the less obvious route of highlighting a period in Darwin's life that proved most challenging.
Those expecting a biography of his life from start to finish will be disappointed, but might rejoice in the fact that it focuses on a time of far more importance. There is a multitude of layers that encompass this story involving a deeply moving rendition of a loving father, devoted husband and a keen scientist.
For Paul Bettany this role is clearly a career highlight allowing him the chance to play a British icon in a way know one would have imagined. His own intelligence, knowledge of the character and ability to immerse himself in character is precisely the right mix for a role of this sort.
Paired up with his wife Jennifer, herself a fine actress, and you have pure magic on screen. She was the obvious choice for the role of Emma Wedgwood, a woman blindly devoted to the church, which she brings to life elegantly yet with a sharp presence. Their on screen chemistry is made easy by their off screen relationship, but never for a moment do they lose sight of their epochal roles.
Every scene in this film is accompanied by intense emotional drama, and it is this drama that makes "Creation" more than just a biopic. There is a lot to be learnt from this story and will certainly be an education as to the impact Darwin's life had on the course of history.
What BBC Films have added to the production is their understanding of natural history and how to capture its brilliance. Over the years we have been exposed to our natural world in documentaries such as "Planet Earth", which have managed to capture the very essence of our world. In "Creation", you can look forward to a few scenes that pay homage to these documentaries and the incredible work of the BBC.
This is a perfect marriage of dramatic structure and historical fact combined into a film that will leave you with a greater understanding of the life and times of Charles Darwin and his immense contribution to life, as we now know it.
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