Creation (Review)

CREATION
(01/22/10; Drama, Biopic)
Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Jeremy Northam, Toby Jones
SCR: John Collee; based on Annie’s Box by Randal Keynes
DIR: Jon Amiel
MPAA: PG for some intense thematic material.
1 hour 48 mins
BOX: $340,611

Ambitious drama depicts the long process in which Charles Darwin (Bettany) struggled to write his iconic book On the Origin of Species, and the devastating effect his young daughter’s death had on him and his family. Bettany and Connelly (married in real life) are excellent: she’s a deeply religious person and he’s Charles Darwin, which takes the eternal creationism vs. evolution argument and makes it personal.

And that would be great if the film made this conversation its primary focus, but alas, the script shoehorns in so many elements of Darwin’s life that the film just can’t sustain so many ideas. There are scenes in Creation that are so heart-wrenching and intimate that it’s frustrating a movie with some many great moments couldn’t pull it all together.

The film is based on a biography penned by Darwin’s great-great-grandson Randal Keynes using personal letters and diaries of the Darwin family. Here’s something interesting: the film was distributed in America by Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions and Newmarket Films, the same companies that brought us The Passion of the Christ (2004). Something tells me we aren’t going to see that double feature any time soon! (BBC Films/Newmarket Films)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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