The Study of a Man
Having spent many years studying animals, natural selection and coming up with theories surrounding evolution Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) finds himself conflicted by his knowledge, a conflict which contributes to a fragile state of health. On one hand he loves his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) dearly and their children, especially Annie (Martha West) but Emma's devoutly religious stance and fear that they will never spend eternity together weighs heavy on him. But on the other there is the scientist in him who can't deny the theories he has come up with whilst pushed by his publishers to collate his writings in to a book "On the Origin of Species". As Charles continues to battle his feelings events in his family cause him to question his faith and threaten to shatter his relationship with Emma.
Does a movie keep me interested and entertained? Those two criteria are at the top of my list when I sit down to watch any movie with the intention of reviewing it. With that in mind I can definitely say that "Creation" is both interesting and entertaining although I do wonder how it is perceived by those who are devoutly religious and those who fully support Darwin's theories and do so with as much belief as a devout Christian believes in God.
Anyway as I said "Creation" managed to both interest and entertain me as whilst it shows to some extent Darwin's research to back up his theories it doesn't do so in a forceful manner, although it would be fair to say that there is graphic content of nature and the cycle of life which might upset some children. So instead of focusing on Darwin's theories it focuses on the conflict he feels when it comes to what the scientist in him feels and what the family man feels who is married to a devout Christian. And it is this side which is interesting because for many it humanizes a person which they will only have heard of in name when ever evolution is mentioned. And in humanizing him it shows that his research wasn't out of some fervent need to kill the church, unlike others who pushed him to finish his book, but out of trying to rationalize the existence of man.
But there is more to "Creation" than just the conflict which he felt and caused his health to suffer as the second half brings a family drama which combined with his book causes issues in his marriage to Emma. And this also helps to build up this picture of a man who was torn by the need to explain everything and having faith.
Because "Creation" is more of a character study rather than an examination of Darwin's works it is a movie which relies on performance and Paul Bettany delivers it. In fact whilst the movie features Bettany's real wife Jennifer Connelly as well as the likes of Jeremy Northam and Benedict Cumberbatch they end up surprisingly unimportant. It is because Bettany makes Darwin human and not just a dry interpretation of a figure from the books he draws us in to his conflict.
What this all boils down to is that "Creation" is a movie which I am sure some people have put off watching over what they think it is about. But in truth it is a character study, a look at a man who is torn by the theories he has come up with and the love for his religious wife and his devotion to his family, especially his daughter Annie.