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