Though Creation was about Charles Darwin, it was Paul Bettany’s movie. He disappeared entirely into his portrayal of Darwin. I don’t think I would have recognized the actor in his character if I hadn’t known who it was. A tour de force in a powerhouse of a movie.

Something in the stark white backed imagery on the box attracted me, though I’ve never really been very interested in Darwin. The real life character, his family, and his discoveries and ideas leapt into full fascinating life, as soon as I started watching.
A part of the attraction was the gorgeous cinematography that should have gotten extra credit as a cast member. Everything was shot in a way that made it stand
out, practically living and breathing in my living room.

I’d known about his Beagle expedition, and the way his ideas about evolution revolutionized thinking that sparks debate to this day. It never occurred to me that someone with such ideas would agonize so over what it might do to the rigid world of Christianity in which he lived. When it began to unfold that his wife’s beliefs weighed heavily on his mind, heart, and soul, the greater part of his struggle became more clear. The way his difficulties were presented in the movie made me think that if not for his wife, played beautifully by Bettany’s real life wife Jennifer Connelly, he might well have been less tortured.

As it was his warring mind and soul manifested in so severe a case of writer’s block that it was crippling. He took water treatments that looked more like torture sessions, and later subjected their beloved, precocious daughter to them as well, when she fell seriously ill. Between her failing health and his suffering marriage it’s amazing that he survived his own life, much less went on to become the historical figure most of us think we know.

From the opening scenes of native children brought to the civilized world to be, well, civilized, with results from the tragic to head shaking irony, to Darwin’s encounter with the first orangutan in the London Zoo, to a family trip to the beach that he made anything but typical, Creation practically sings with love and science and tragedy and success.

I actually bought it because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, once I saw his name among the cast. I love when I bring home a movie I know little about and end up enjoying it so much I’m still thinking about it weeks later. Creation is one of those and Paul Bettany’s portrayal of Charles Darwin is one of a kind.

Creation Trailer

Advertisements