July 23, 2010

Creation - 2010

Director: John Amiel
Writer: John Collee
Starring: Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly
"It will be called On the Origin of Species, and I intend to keep God out of it, although He will likely consider it a personal attack." This barely-distributed film from early this year, based on the book Annie's Box (written by a descendant of Charles Darwin) tells the tale of Darwin's (Bettany) struggle while writing his famous work: balancing his relationship with his devout wife Emma (Connelly) and recognizing how integral to society the church has been, as well as fighting intense illness and coming to terms with the death of his daughter Annie.
Technically, this film isn't anything special; it's pretty much your average period piece from beginning to end. However, the performances of the two leads are both very good (enhanced, I'd say, by the fact the actors are actually husband and wife), but the story is where this film truly shines. This film turns Darwin from the cold logician intent on bringing down the church that I'm sure many on the right have seen him as for the past century and a half to a more human character, one who understands the gravity of the situation so much so that he sits on the work from the Galapagos Islands for a full 15 years for fear of societal rammifications, although not quite sharing his wife's belief of eternal damnation for his writings. The singular measure of success of a biopic is that it maintains the interest of the audience despite a forgone (and sometimes well-known) conclusion, and Creation fits the bill perfectly.

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