Running time: 1hr 58mins
Starring: Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Joe Amiel
Star rating: 3
IN the year that marks the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Hollywood gets in on the act.
Casting real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as the pre-eminent scientist and his wife, Jon Amiel’s beautifully-crafted biopic focuses on the turbulent period before Darwin committed his radical theories to paper and changed the course of science.
To suggest that homo sapiens and all other species were the result of millions of years of evolution was nothing short of heresy: natural selection trumps divine intervention. “I’ll bet half of the nation would cheerfully see you burned at the stake if they knew what you were writing,” confides Darwin’s closest friend, the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker (Dominic Cumberbatch).
Yet to finish the book, Darwin risks his marriage to the deeply religious Emma.
Based on the book Annie’s Box by Randal Keynes, Darwin’s great-great-grandson, Creation meets Darwin in his early forties. His beloved daughter Annie has died aged 10, possibly from scarlet fever or tuberculosis.
Creation is a restrained and artfully composed leaf through a chapter in history that plays out these upsetting years in Darwin’s life as a mosaic of waking dreams.