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Creation (2010)


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 111
Fresh: 51
Rotten: 60

Critics Consensus: This Charles Darwin biopic is curiously dispassionate, but Creation contains some of director Jon Amiel's best work, and Paul Bettany's performance is not to be missed.

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 10
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: This Charles Darwin biopic is curiously dispassionate, but Creation contains some of director Jon Amiel's best work, and Paul Bettany's performance is not to be missed.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 24,625


Movie Info

Based on "Annie's Box," -- a biography penned by Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson Randal Keynes, using personal letters and diaries of the Darwin family-- "Creation" takes a unique and inside look at Darwin, his family and his love for his deeply religious wife, Torn between faith and science, Darwin struggles to finish his legendary book "On the Origin of Species," which goes on to become the foundation for evolutionary biology.

PG-13 (for some intense thematic material)
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jun 29, 2010
Box Office:
Newmarket Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Creation

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (60) | DVD (2)

Some good acting and fine cinematography are watered down in a tepid yawner that moves with the speed of natural selection, but without its irresistible sense of purpose.

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
Top Critic

An intriguing portrait of a man and a time that changed everything.

Full Review… | March 17, 2010
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Jon Amiel, the film's director, tells his story with respect and some restraint, showing how sad and weakened Charles is and yet not ratcheting up his grief into unseemly melodrama.

Full Review… | February 18, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A great moment in the history of ideas does not necessarily make for a great movie.

Full Review… | February 12, 2010
Detroit News
Top Critic

Bettany's sheepish performance fails to engage, and Connelly, his wife in real life, seems distant and frigid. There is no sense of romance between them. That may be accurate, but it's no fun to watch.

Full Review… | February 11, 2010
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

While the film's flashbacks and -forwards are disorienting, the performances give the film propulsion and poignancy.

Full Review… | February 11, 2010
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

An elegant, melancholy movie about storytelling, science vs. religion, family, life, and death.

Full Review… | September 24, 2014
Film Comment Magazine

It became tedious when focusing on his [Darwin's] brittle emotions, often in a non-linear and random sort of way.

Full Review… | July 31, 2012
7M Pictures

Director Jon Amiel has delivered on the promise of a good script, with a film that has a pleasing sense of forward motion, characters who suffer deeply, but are attractive because of it, morally, for the way they struggle through with love and belief.

Full Review… | July 16, 2010
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

Jon Amiel's film about Charles Darwin is a poorly structured and frequently drab affair focused on Darwin's daughter Annie, with occasional bursts of energy thanks to the wildlife cinematography and bouts of Victorian bonhomie.

Full Review… | July 15, 2010

Best described as Finding Neverland meets A Beautiful Mind, Creation meanders in dramatic urgency at times, but never loses a total connection with its audience.

Full Review… | July 14, 2010
Herald Sun (Australia)

The film indulges in one little bit of overkill towards the end, so unnecessary, but overall Creation is a very fine film indeed.

Full Review… | July 14, 2010
At the Movies (Australia)

Creation is an emotionally complex film that examines faith, love, grief and passion through the key events that propelled Darwin to finish one of the most important books ever written.

Full Review… | July 14, 2010
Cinema Autopsy

The chief culprits are a laboured, poorly structured script by Aussie John Collee; the hackneyed device of having Darwin interact with the ghost of his dead daughter; and Jon Amiel's heavy-handed direction.

Full Review… | July 13, 2010

With solid performances, this film provides an interesting alternative look at one of the most influential scientists of the modern era.

Full Review… | July 13, 2010

It's an intelligent and emotional film, which (judging by the struggle the filmmakers had of getting an American distributor) proves that Darwin is still making people think, more than 120 years after his death.

Full Review… | July 13, 2010
FILMINK (Australia)

Like the best of breeds, Creation is somewhat of a mixed bag.

Full Review… | July 12, 2010
The Vine

For the most part, it's a sombre and gloomy story about a dark period in Charles and Emma Darwin's lives in which the profoundly Christian Emma is in spiritual conflict with her husband over his scientific approach to the origin of species, including man

Full Review… | July 11, 2010
Urban Cinefile

Shows that all faith, any faith, is made stronger through questioning and emotional trial.

Full Review… | July 9, 2010
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

A mess.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Film Threat

Disappointingly soapy drama about the domestic life of Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany). Jennifer Connelly plays his wife, Emma. A squandered opportunity.

Full Review… | July 3, 2010
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Complex drama gives teens and adults reason to think.

Full Review… | June 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

A bit of a depressing slog, but thanks to the performances of its leads, it does have a satisfying ending.

Full Review… | June 16, 2010
Three Movie Buffs

A gripping personal drama surrounding the 1859 publication of the book which introduced the world-changing theory of evolution.

Full Review… | April 13, 2010
Entertainment Insiders

Audience Reviews for Creation

Sometimes the fantastical elements of Creation, as beautiful as they are, distract from the overall story and the factual turn of events. The slight loss of hair on Darwin doesn't really go far enough in showing the gaps in time either but all that said, Creation is a touching and fascinating film about a subject I knew little about. It's not always his situation one thinks about when the question of Origin of the Species comes about, we can only imagine the struggle he must have gone through in his discovery. The cast are on good form, young Martha West is an actress to look out for in the future and In my opinion Paul Bettany has never been better.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Although th brilliant cast and narrative were strong, the way in which it was shown was quite difficult to understand. For a while I was unsure if his daughter was in fact dead but maybe that's what was wanted, however it was confusing when it came to the past/present. Overall great performances and a decent film.

Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer


On the surface Creation may seem to be the typical Hallmark presents kind of biopic; telling the story of the life of Darwin; but while there are certainly historical facts in the film the story remains only a backdrop for the much heavier discussion concerning the nature of things.

Just about everyone is versed in Darwin's theories, (belief in said theories is apparently optional) - from natural selection (survival of the fittest) to the grander and accompanying concept of evolution itself. In order for the film to survive, it must deftly tread through the emotional minefield that Darwin himself seemed reluctant to enter: the age-old battle between science and religion. Just as Newton did a half century before him, Darwin tried to match his scientific observations to old testament religious dogma when both would have been better served to jettison the dogma for a more enlightened view of "the creator" (or God), in which evolution is part and parcel of the creator's plan. Of course the battle lines were drawn by others - from the scientists who chaffed against the church's strict guidelines, to the church hierarchy who missed the opportunity to embrace these new scientific revelations as proof of God's existence, and instead retreated behind some several thousand year old scribbles and called anything that contradicted the book blasphemy.

But enough of the theology lesson, for while the film can't but help entering into the fray, it is more about personal faith and the interconnectivity of all things.

On one hand you have a story being told of Darwin (Paul Bettany), his wife (and first cousin, another theme that comes into play), and their firstborn daughter Annie (Martha West). It becomes obvious that Annie is the apple of Darwin's eye; an intensely curious, precocious and fearless child who succumbs to pneumonia at age 10. This story is told in a series of flashbacks as Darwin is haunted by her ghost (metaphorically or otherwise, since he is perhaps hallucinating as indicated by the fact that he is taking laudanum in an effort to treat ills that may be psychological in nature).

What is far more interesting than the story itself is how the film weaves the great theories into the story in an almost covert manner. After Annie's death Darwin becomes a shell of a man, having lost his great taste for nature as well as his faith, not only in the religion to which he was raised, but faith in himself and his relationship with his wife (a solid performance by Jennifer Connelly), who took the alternate tack of falling further into religion, using it as a crutch to keep her sorrow at bay.

Proceeding at a slow pace, the film gives ample time to contemplate the issues at hand, and does a masterful job of weaving and connecting the concepts and stories. Annie has a favorite tale that she frequently requests her father to tell: that of Jennie, the first orangutan in captivity. Darwin weaves this tale, giving the ape a great deal of humanity, telling Annie that Jennie was just as curious about the strange creatures gaping at her as the people were upon seeing her for the first time. The story of Jennie is broken into segments, as other themes and stories are told; but eventually it is revealed that there is a distinct similarity between the story of Jennie and Annie.

Truly interesting in this period piece is that while Darwin and the science of the 1850's are making great strides towards the understanding of connectivity and several other issues, the medical field is seemingly entrenched in the middle ages. Provocative is that a quack doctor, who adheres to "hydrotherapy" which includes being doused in freezing water, is also a natural psychiatrist at heart, correctly diagnosing that Darwin's illness is in his soul, and until he confronts his demon, no amount of physical therapy will cure him. The illness in his soul is Darwin's loss of faith, not just in the religious sense, but also in his sense of self and his life. Believing that his wife holds him responsible for Annie's death, he withdraws from her and the rest of his family, becoming a ghost himself, who haunts his manor house but is not really there. His great book, The Origin of Species, remains half written, as he cannot face the naysayers who will assuredly condemn him as a heretic, or the parts of the scientific community who will use the book as an attack on religion (as one alleged supporter succinctly put it "congratulations Charles, you have killed God"). This isn't what Darwin wants or intends, as he at one point says, "religion (faith) is the raft on which society floats". Unfortunately, in the 1850's faith equals THE CHURCH, and the church in spite of all evidence squashes any question of an affirmation of spirituality hinted at by science. The film uses a fine example of Annie receiving a severe punishment by her teacher (in a religion sponsored school) for her blasphemy of believing in dinosaurs (the head of which she has actually seen). At the time the religious argument was that dinosaurs never existed since they are no longer around, and God would not create a creature and then let them become extinct (not to mention the age of the dinosaurs contradicts the old testament scribble concerning the age of the earth). That these kind of arguments continue 160 years later amazes me and is why I believe this film is important, as it points out that faith comes in many shapes and sizes and can indeed exist well outside the confines of organized religion.

Perhaps I'm spending too much time covering the issues of the film and not the film itself. I will say that the script is intelligent, and the performances of Bettany, Connelly and West are solid (as are several bit players). There are some very nice bits of cinematic artistry, including some nice bits of nature photography as well as time- lapse photography to illustrate how all things are connected. The pacing gets a bit bogged down at times (some judicious editing concerning Darwin's inner struggles might be warranted), but I was overall very impressed that the film told so many seemingly unrelated stories that yet all had meanings within the grand framework.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer


Creation Chronicles Charles Darwin's research and writing of his now famous book, On The Origin Of Species, a book that changed the course of science, and exploded in controversy. The film is very interesting, and Paul Bettany is well cast in the role of Charles Darwin. Creation takes a look in the hardships of Darwin as he was writing his famous work. Charle's Darwin revolutionary theory practically spit in the face of religion. In the film the character Thomas Huxley says to Darwin, "you've killed god, sir." This is a powerful film that takes a look at what Darwin went through to complete the manuscript of On The Origin Of Species. Ultimately he did, and his theory changed the face of the world. The fillm is of course a drama based biopic, and thus not everything here is fact, some of it is made up for the sake of telling a good story. Creation is not a perfect film, but it does give you an insight into a very complex man. Charles Darwin was certainly that and more. Creation is the story of his writing of his theory as he spent nearly twenty years researching every detail on this theory before his colleagues convinced him that writing out the theory would shut up all the religious fanatics, as they somehow hint in the film that Science is more powerful than religion. For those interested in Charles Darwin, Creation may be a film for you. The film is slow, but the story keeps you entertained because Darwin's research of his theory is extremely interesting, and theres nothing boring about such a thing. The acting here is great both Bettany and his real life wife, Jennifer Connelly give great performances. A very well done film even though it's not entirely perfect.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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