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More than 150 years after its publication, Charles Darwin'sOn the Origin of Speciesand its theory of natural selection remain the subject of much debate; the divide between those who accept Darwin's ideas as incontrovertible science and those who consider them blasphemous may be wider now than ever. Released in 2009, director Jon Amiel'sCreationgoes right to the heart of the matter--indeed, right to the heart of Darwin himself. As portrayed by Paul Bettany, the Darwin who has returned to England following his voyage aboard HMSBeagleis a man for whom "deeply conflicted" is a barely adequate description. Well aware his theory is "perhaps the most powerful idea ever to occur to a human mind," he is caught between the scientists who insist that he has "killed God" and the religious conservatives, including his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly), who counter that his very soul will be in peril if he finishes and publishes his book. What's more, he is haunted, sometimes literally, by the death of his favorite child, Annie (seen in frequent flashbacks), and its effect on his marriage--in fact, it is this personal angle that dominates the film. But while the toll his work has taken on his health, his faith, his family, and his very sanity is obvious, he also knows that it is far too important to ignore.Creationis not a documentary; liberties have been taken, and there are multiple sequences, including Darwin's nightmarish fever dreams, that are clearly the invention of the filmmakers. But Bettany and Connelly, who are a real-life couple, are both superb; the cinematography is gorgeous; and various scenes illustrating the notion of "survival of the fittest" in nature are riveting (there won't be a dry eye in the house when Darwin tells his dying daughter about the fate of an orangutan captured in Borneo). And while the tone of the film would seem to favor science over religion, the DVD includes numerous bonus features in which both sides have their say. This one is not to be missed.--Sam Graham

Stills from Creation (Click for larger image)
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CastJeremy Northam, Toby Jones, Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly
DirectorJon Amiel
DVD Release Date:  June 29, 2010
Runtime:  108 minutes
Studio:  Lionsgate
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More Creation (2009) reviews
review by . March 14, 2011
posted in Picktainment
Life. Evolution.  A topic that has been debated over for hundreds of years.  I remember a time while sitting in a junior high school science class and I first read about Darwin and his theory on evolution.  Granted I have never been, nor do I ever intend to be a scholar.  I was never a fan of classes that required actual work.  I chose instead to take easier class that only focused on a small portion of topics so it was less that I needed to memorize.  I opted to take …
review by . August 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When I heard about Creation, I was excited to see a movie try to capture Darwin the man for modern film audiences. The acting is fine and Paul Bettany pulls off a decent Darwin. There are some great scenes, particularly the Orangutan, the death of Darwin's daughter, and Huxley's cameo. I really liked the way it portrayed the "survival of the fittest" - not as an academic debate, but as a series of field observations in the outdoors - exactly where Darwin would have devised his …
review by . January 22, 2010
So Much for Creation
Oh, how timely to throw together a biopic about Charles Darwin now.  It seems to me that, while Darwin’s theories about evolution have been angering religious types since before they were committed to paper, they seem to have been an even hotter topic in recent years with creationists.  It would almost seem as though the creators of CREATION may have specifically intended to capitalize on that controversy to get people to see their movie.  They may succeed in getting people …
review by . June 30, 2010
CREATION is not a film about the development of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and if that is what the audience expects it will be disappointed. What this little film presents instead is the midlife crisis (the film takes place in 1858-59 and Darwin was born in 1809, having completed his 1840 'Voyage of the Beagle' after the famous time he spent from 1831 -36 on the HMS Beagle as a naturalist gathering data) when Darwin had made his observations of nature and natural survival of the fittest …
review by . August 08, 2010
When I heard about Creation, I was excited to see a movie try to capture Darwin the man for modern film audiences. The acting is fine and Paul Bettany pulls off a decent Darwin. There are some great scenes, particularly the Orangutan, the death of Darwin's daughter, and Huxley's cameo. I really liked the way it portrayed the "survival of the fittest" - not as an academic debate, but as a series of field observations in the outdoors - exactly where Darwin would have devised his theory.     Unfort …
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