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|Index||76 reviews in total|
I saw the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Fest, this
is a great film.
Real-life husband and wife Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly star as Charles and Emma Darwin in the midst of their struggle through the writing of and decision to publish "Origin of Species". Their consideration of the ramifications it may have for their family and the future of humankind are conveyed in such a manner that one suspects only an off-screen couple could achieve.
Jon Amiel (who gave a heart-felt introduction) and John Collee do and excellent job of bringing Randal Keynes' biography to life. They created some very poignant and human moments, great cinematography and sets and a generous helping of tongue-in-cheek about the still divisive theory of evolution.
The surprise star is Martha West who plays Annie Darwin, the character around whom much of the story unfurls. She plays the precocious young girl to a tee. If this performance is anything to go by her star should be on the rise.
All in all a great film, and although it is a period drama the issues that drive it are still very much alive today.
This is definitely a touching movie, and a great expression of Charles
Darwins personal struggle. The movie is not only about his struggle to
get his book "the origin of Species" published, but also his
relationship with his oldest daughter. His daughter was at start the
only person in his family to approve of his views, something that she
as well had to pay for. Een more than him at times.
Now, this is not an evolutionary propaganda film, as a matter of fact I think it managed to stay very neutral. A hard thing to do in my opinion. of course it does not condone the way the characters was treated by the church, quite the opposite actually. If you need me to use the big words to shed light on this film; it will be liked by deists and atheists alike, but goes away from theism. The movie talks about evolution, and that's it.
Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin was incredible. Of course we all may think of Darwin as that old man with the funny beard, but this movie centers around the man in his late 20's, early 30's. Jennifer Connelly (Emma Darwin) is great as always, but the actor who impressed me was Martha West as Annie Darwin, Darwins daughter. Definitely on of the best child actors of the decade. The story is about Darwin and his daughter, and it is beautifully acted.
Except for a few jumps in time that was momentarily confusing, the production of this film is pretty flawless. Some scenes were Darwin observes nature is just marvelous, and is almost like taken out of a high production National geographic documentary.
I must admit though, I'm not quite sure of why they chose "Creation" as the title. I doubt it is an irony, the movie is too respectful for that. Well, I'm sure there's a meaning too it, just don't let it scare you away.
I give this movie a 9/10. This is truly a great tribute to Charles Darwin, and please give it a chance.
I saw this film on 19SEP2009 at the Cambridge Film Festival.
The Beagle's only in a couple of short flashbacks, the whole thing is about Darwin's life from 1841 to 1859, when he was ensconced in Kent with his growing family, 200+ pages of Origin had already been drafted and he was wondering whether to complete the book.
The script is based on Randal Keynes's book Annie's Box (Annie, Charles's daughter, died when she was 10). It is mostly a family drama, but does include sex scenes - however, the participants are married, both on and off screen. Not too exciting, not much science but a well-made film that's pleasant to watch and pushes the right emotional buttons. A bit of a romantic weepie, actually. I suppose the conclusion is that you can be an agnostic free-thinking scientist from an atheist family background and still be an emotional romantic as well as an excellent father.
Some of the characters and Darwin himself state or wonder whether he "killed god" but the viewer is able to doubt that. What is beyond doubt, given the deadly struggle for survival and the web of predation on the meadow-bank (well-known before Darwin and completely uncontroversial) and the failure of Darwin's prayers is that the idea of a kind, providential god who loves "his" creatures is untenable.
I really cannot see many Americans objecting to it very much. Some may have problems with the title, which is probably the most controversial thing about the film, or with the fact that Bettany does not have horns, a tail and a pitchfork.
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.
This could have been a great movie with plenty of educational potential
for teachers around the world about evolution, biology, the creative
work in science, research and Darwin's life, but it is not.
The screenplay is mostly historically inaccurate and transforms a true story into a Mexican soup-opera melodrama. While it is true that Darwin gradually lost his religious beliefs, this was in great part due to his findings during the voyage of the Beagle and not solely due to the loss of his daughter. He was certainly disturbed by his loss, but that did not made him literally insane, delusional and detached from his friends and family. The such portrayal of Darwin is an invention of the script writer. Thus it cannot be used in any way as place to learn a bit about Darwin's life and psyche. According to most historians, Darwin had the theory ready by the end of the Beagle voyage, and kept it from going public because he wanted to develop further the consequences of it and check against more data. In the movie, it is an imaginary conflict of Darwin with his religious beliefs and the mental illness that he developed after his daughter's death that kept him from going public.
The movie brings a modern situation, the creationists vs scientists debate, into the life and times of Darwin, thus it is anachronistic. It depicts Thomas Huxley not as a man trying to develop further understanding of biology but as someone eager to "kill God", in his own words from the movie, and destroy the church, who would accept the theory of evolution for such purposes and not because it was a synthesis of plenty of disconnected data. Huxley is presented as a very arrogant and insensible person, a combination that I interpret was an attempt to ridicule active atheists who speak up against religion. In real life, Huxley accepted Darwin's ideas after publication only gradually, and before the work of Darwin he thought that there was not enough evidence to support evolution. His first support of evolution was published one month after the Origin of Species became public. He was agnostic but did not think it was necessary "to kill God", only thought that there was not enough evidence to believe in the supernatural. The debate creationists vs scientists appears throughout the movie, and creationists catch-phrases such as "It is only a theory" are part of the discussion. Of course, no such dispute or catch-phrases existed at that time. In fact, the Anglican Church published a positive review of the Origin's saying that they saw God's work in evolution, in some sense, quite in fact in contradiction to the way that the clergy is portrayed in the screenplay.
Another awful aspect of this movie is that it gives the wrong impression to the general public that scientific research is done by a solitary crazy man who just writes a lot. Nothing could be further from the truth. The conception of the theory of evolution was the result of thorough observations of living forms by Darwin during five years in the HMS Beagle, and was developed gradually as it can be seen from Darwin's notes of the voyage. Even though the Beagle voyage was the sole most important part of Darwin's life to the conception of "Origin of Species", the voyage is briefly mentioned only once at the beginning, and no attempt is made to show that the book came as an elaborate analysis of observations. To make it worse, Darwin is shown performing a single experiment (pigeon breeding) to test his theory and, in the end, quits it. And I'm not really sure whether such experiment did actually occur.
Great disappointment. It is not in any way a homage to Darwin and science.
Paul Bettany did a great role as the tortured father whose favorite
little girl dies tragically of disease. For that, he deserves all the
credit. However, the movie was mostly about exactly that, keeping the
adventures of Darwin as he gathered data for his theories as incomplete
stories told to children and skipping completely the disputes regarding
Two things bothered me terribly: the soundtrack, with its whiny sound, practically shoving sadness down the throat of the viewer, and the movie trailer, showing some beautiful sceneries, the theological musings of him and his wife and the enthusiasm of his best friends as they prepare for a battle against blind faith, thus misrepresenting the movie completely.
To put it bluntly, if one were to remove the scenes of the movie trailer from the movie, the result would be a non descript family drama about a little child dying and the hardships of her parents as a result. Clearly, not what I expected from a movie about Darwin, albeit the movie was beautifully interpreted.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CREATION received wonderful reviews when it premiered at the
prestigious Toronto Film Festival but, those reviews notwithstanding,
the film had difficulty picking up a distributor in the US, apparently
because of the fear that it would offend the religious right.
The film is based on the book, Annie's Box, which was written by Darwin's great-great- grandson, Randal Keynes, so I don't suppose there's any doubting its veracity. Against that the film is very much focused on Darwin's family situation and the death of his young daughter, Annie, in particular and not on the great man's work. It's a sometimes powerful yet strangely uneven telling of the tale. We see Darwin as a family man who struggles to accept his daughter's death, a man who is torn between his love for his deeply religious wife and his own growing belief that God has no place in the world. He finds himself caught in a battle between faith and reason, between love and truth, all the while dealing with the death of his favourite daughter, Annie.
Charles Darwin is played by acclaimed British actor, Paul Bettany, probably best known for his role as the mad monk in THE DA VINCI CODE (2006), while Mrs. Darwin is played by Bettany's real life wife and Oscar winning actress, Jennifer Connolly.
There's a palpable tension between the actors, Connolly is particularly good as the understated Mrs. Darwin driven to distraction by the loss of her daughter and the consequent loss of her husband. Darwin's master-work, THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, comes to light and the film depicts a cosy little world of English gardens in turmoil as a happy marriage is ripped asunder by the loss of a child.
As a film that deals with the loss of a child and the resultant impact on what had previously been a perfectly happy marriage, CREATION works well. It's beautifully shot, with some touching scenes, not least of which concerns the death of an ape, which, when you think about it, is quite apt. What's less apt is hearing Darwin muse, "What if the world stopped believing that God had any sort of plan for us?" Why on earth would he care whether a God he no longer believes in has a plan or not? Which brings up the main problem with the film - as a movie about Darwin and the writing of Origin, it completely misses the boat. It's all religion and no evolution. Where's the Beagle? The Galapagos? Where are the vampire finches? Or woodpecker finches for that matter? Darwin has figured the whole thing out before the movie starts, he's even written most of the book, the film is solely concerned with the question as to whether he should publish or not.
This is a film that, far from offending the religious right, plays straight into their hands by focusing not on the genius of Darwin but on the moral and religious dilemmas which he faced. It's an awful pity that a film about Darwin is mired in religion, particularly given that he was such a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects and that it was his stated object to avoid writing on religion, confining himself to science, believing, as he did, that the disciples of differing theories should not attack one another with bitterness regardless of their beliefs.
It's just a pity that the religious loo-las of today aren't quite as even tempered, though I suspect such wilful ignorance would quickly melt even the great man's resolve. They have long since melted mine. And with that in mind, I strongly recommend going to see the film if for no other reason than to annoy the nuts from the religious right.
I believe the reason this movie did not get the recognition it deserves is because of the many misconceptions of Darwin, pro and con. I would say the real man is depicted here without sterility. He is what he is. Although the movie is but a snapshot of the man the technique of storytelling expanded his life far beyond the years touched on in the movie. This is deep movie, a pondering of modern life and the way we think, and can provoke a study into the man whose thoughts (and other who used him) have certainly affected our lives. There are some movies that the historical context is so great that it is the primary job of the actors to stay out of the way. The history carried the day and the actors did their job. Good work to them, I say.
Of all the greatest men in science, Charles Darwin stands taller than most. His superior intellectual searching and inevitably, his persistent exercise in evolutionary logic, gave mankind the tools with which to eventually determine the Origins of Man. In point of fact, this film, ably directed by Jon Ameil, is called " Creation " and answers the eternal question for all open-minded students, teachers and inquisitive scientists alike. Moreover, the poignant film also endeavors to unveil a portion of the private life behind the real Darwin. (Paul Bettany) Darwin himself was not only a practical man, but a deeply sensitive father and husband. Herein audiences discover that throughout his life and during his subsequent marriage to his cousin Emma, (Jennifer Connelly) Charles pays dearly for his revolutionary ideas. The story touches his association with Captain Fitzroy (Ian Kelly), Joseph Hooker ( Benedict Cumberbatch) and his most ardent supporter Thomas Huxley ( Toby Jones). However, it also reveals just how deeply he loved his children, especially his favorite daughter Annie. (Martha West) All in all, the movie is exceptional and for audiences of every age, a Classic story. Highly recommended. ****
Bettanny & Connelly beautifully act out this biopic on Charles Darwin.
The movie focuses on Darwin's personal life and how it was effected by
his scientific endeavours. I believe many viewers watched this movie
with a pessimistic mindset (maybe brought on by their own religious
beliefs). Some, I believe, were offended by any mention of evolution.
However, this movie does not attempt to argue for or against religion
in any way! Instead it centers around the inner battle of a brilliant
man, who's ideas were revolutionary and scorned.
The movie gives a unique perspective into the life of Charles Darwin, and allows one to appreciate his works and convictions. This film is definitely worth seeing. The cinematography is well done, it is historically accurate, and the performances are sound.
For one who wants to understand the man behind the theories, it is great! But you must see it, optimistically, as a focus on the MAN and not his theories.
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