• PG-13, 1 hr. 48 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Jon Amiel
    In Theaters:
    Jan 22, 2010 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jun 29, 2010
  • Newmarket Films


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Creation Reviews

Page 1 of 47
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2012
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.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2011
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.

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2011
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.

Super Reviewer

July 2, 2010
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.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

August 18, 2010
A mostly restrained biopic about all the sadness and personal conflict that Charles Darwin went through while writing a book that would forever change History. A solid film that fortunately escapes melodrama and presents a strong performance by Paul Bettany.

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2009
While I would not necessarily say that Creation is mindblowing or an endearing masterpiece, I was extreamely shocked at how good the movie is. I sort of doubt that it is all that historical; and it also cleverly evades being all that controversial, I mean this is Charles Darwin we're talking about! He is a figure that depending on your beliefs can either be hailed either as a saint or the devil's puppet. As far as trying find ideas or purpose in the film - not that is essential that there be anything - that is the main thing that struck out to me. Charles Darwin was for all practical purposes, just another guy. He had a wife, a family, his own passions, his own insecurities; not really the stuff legends are made of. I also really liked Jennifer Connelly and her character. We tend to think of Feminism as being a modern movement, but judging by Emma Darwin it seems like the very foundation of our history can be accredited to strong, passionate women. Men are generally presumed 'strong' because of inflated ego and excess testosterone. It seems like we could appluad many, many woman even in their pre-enpowered roles. Visually, Creation is absolutely gorgeous and artistic. Everything else could have sucked and I would have still enjoyed watching it. The only reason I do not rate the movie higher is just because the film didn't leave me with all that much. Just a couple of days now after watching it, I do not remember many details or even the major plot, nor did I feel anything while actually watching it. Still, it does an awful lot of things incredibly well, and is not flawed at all. It's more like it doesn't totally fullfill its potential.

Super Reviewer

January 31, 2010
Bethany raises this with his nuanced performance and able support from Connelly. It bravely attempts to visualise a man's intellectual and emotional battles with himself but this doesn't make for gripping cinema, unfortunately. An interesting if flawed attempt to look at the biopic from a different angle.

Super Reviewer

May 13, 2011
"Creation" starts with Annie(Martha West) asking her father, Charles Darwin(Paul Bettany, who is excellent), to tell her a story. Well, how about how he wrote "On the Origin of Species?"

It is something of a long story, truth be told, starting in 1858, as Darwin not only has writer's block, but is generally feeling unwell. On a visit with his friend Joseph Hooker(Benedict Cumberbatch) to Darwin's house, Thomas Huxley(Toby Jones) expresses his eagerness for the book's publication, claiming it will kill god which is why Darwin's wife Emma(a woefully miscast Jennifer Connelly) is adamantly against it. In point of fact, Darwin is not in favor of revolution, seeking to preserve the natural order from humanity's blundering, instead, which he learned through hard experience, even if cute bunny rabbits have to suffer. So, not only does he have problems in getting his ideas onto paper, but also conflicted about how they will be interpreted and how they will affect the future.

In conclusion, "Creation" is a beautifully filmed and thoughtful movie with a quality cast(also including Jeremy Northam, Jim Carter and Bill Paterson) that seeks to replicate Darwin's line of thinking by using a non-sequential structure. That disguises the very traditional story located at the heart of the movie that has little to do with Darwin's theories, suggesting an alternate title of "How Darwin Got His Groove Back."

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2010
This really was an interesting movie about the world famous scientist Charles Darwin. The movie was really touching and interesting, it sure must have been a very lonely and bitter burden to bear when you are about to publish a theory that is against all the beliefs of your society. Allthough it can be easy to get a bit bored watching this movie, Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly really were at their best and if it weren't for them I would probably never watch this movie.
Yinalí R

Super Reviewer

February 13, 2010
Very entertaining.
Jason R

Super Reviewer

January 16, 2010
Absolutely loved it! Creation focuses on a critical moment in Charles Darwin's life which tests the scientist both physically and mentally, and also strains the relationship between his beloved Wife and children.
After the death of his eldest Daughter, Annie. Darwin is emotionally crippled, and on top of his grief he is struggling morally, because he knows his discoveries and writings will go against the Church and worse yet everything his very religious Wife believes in.
Beautifully acted, and produced film and I really enjoyed every minute of it. It is a very emotional and thought provoking film, and worth a look.
m h

Super Reviewer

August 14, 2010
A little slow at times, but interesting nonetheless. Very well acted, great casting. The story was touching at times, and made me laugh, think and tear up at times. But like I said, a little slow. Some parts dragged, some parts were boring. But I also loved the costumes.

Overall I would say it's worth a see, but don't expect to necessarily be blown away by it. I liked it, but didn't love it.
Jonny C

Super Reviewer

January 30, 2010
Pretty boring biopic of one of the world most renowned scientists. The telling of Darwin's life is so depressing and dull, with annoying flashbacks, rather than being interesting and thought provoking. The performances were all decent, but they weren't enough to save this mess of a movie.
June 4, 2013
Charles Darwin was one of many great men of science who dared to question things i found the film to be a very diffferent take on what most people thought charles darwin was though i must admit i didn't know too much about him myself other than little footnotes of his work but i found his life to be very simple when he wasn't working and very grounded when he spent time with his family as portrayed on film overall Charles Darwin changed history for many generations to come after to redioscover the world kudos to the cast and director a wonderful film piece
July 4, 2010
Really can't praise this film enough. Inspired me to get copies of his scientific works and read them for myself.
October 4, 2011
Definitely not what I was expecting, but a very pleasant surprise. An excellent biopic about a man who reluctantly changed the world, and the way we look at it.

I'm shocked that this movie didn't go over well with critics, nor capture any attention from the Academy, as it would seem to be right up their alley. Well written, and very thought provoking. Great acting from the whole cast, but Bettany in particular is riveting. Connelly is very good as she always is.

A drama that encompasses far more than the authoring of 'Origin of Species'. It chronicles Darwin's internal struggle of faith vs. science, and if, despite his own beliefs, the publishing of his theories is the right thing to do. It also gets deep into Darwin's head, including his heartbreaking losses and inner demons.

Slow moving, but surely building towards a terrifically emotional third act. I'm certainly not understanding the low ratings here. Seriously... A lower grade than 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'?? Get real...
July 14, 2011
Although Paul Bettany does a great job as Charles Darwin, everything else in this movie is a bit lacking. It can't decide whether it wants to be about his personal struggles or his work. With neither topic getting much emphasis, they both end up fading away into the background. This could have been a very interesting and powerful biopic but never quite comes together.

Super Reviewer

July 4, 2011
Beautifully made, and well casted; Creation is simply an enjoyable film. Though not a favorite of mine, the soundtrack is gorgeous and Paul Bettany is phenomenal.
August 12, 2010
Interesting angle. Personally, not a big Darwin fan but admittedly this is a decent film worth watching if you are interested in science and the especially controversial issue of the Origin of Species.
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