....(For)Those of us who were eager to see an unfamiliar side of Darwin
|Creation - a film by Jon Amiel - Release 2010|
The movie is loosely based on the biography Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution by Randal Keynes, a descendant of Darwin. Keynes used thousands of letters and papers to write about Darwin's private life, especially the enduring grief over the death of his 10-year-old daughter Annie. The movie portrays Darwin, played by Paul Bettany, as a man who was fighting for his life-against both physical illness and an anguished psyche. He seemed to be endlessly tortured by the conflict between religion and his thirst for science. We see only flashback glimpses of Darwin's better-known life (i.e. aboard the H.M.S. Beagle), but we see plenty of his devout wife, played by Bettany's real-life wife, Jennifer Connelly.
Amiel, who is British, said he initially had no interest in making a movie about Darwin. "I admired him," he said, "[in the same way that] I admire Mt. Rushmore. But I hate biopics. The fact that someone led an interesting life does not an interesting movie make." But he read Keynes's book and Darwin's letters and diaries, and "to my enormous surprise, I found myself liking the man." He said along with discovering an exquisitely emotional man, he found an astonishing marriage between Charles and Emma that holds lessons for all of us in tolerance. Yet in the film, it is the drama surrounding Darwin's theory of evolution and the existence of God that seems to eclipse all others.
Creation is being distributed by Newmarket Films, which released The Passion of the Christ. But before they signed on, Amiel had trouble finding a company to back a film with so much inherent controversy.
"America came this close to not seeing this movie at all," he said at the screening.
Creation had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and opened in Britain in October. It opens in select U.S. cities on Friday.