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Wednesday, 07 July 2010 12:05

Film Review: Creation (Charles Darwin)

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I was fortunate enough to be given a preview of the new film titled 'Creation' with Jennifer Connelly and if you want to watch it and don't want to read my thoughts on it until after you do, then stop reading now. Otherwise, read on....

My observations/thoughts on the film:
  1. I expected the focus to be more on his revolutionary ideas and how they contrasted with the common beliefs at the time. This film focussed more on Darwin's personal life, emotional and mental struggles from coping with his daughter's death and his wife's strong religious beliefs.
  2. Much of the scenes assume that we know for certain what was happening in Charles Darwin's household.
    • The film assumed that Darwin talks, sees and hears his dead daughter (I understand that this might have been done as a form of symbolism, as a tool for storytelling however since the wife in the film confirmed it, it was more than just symbolism.)
    • The film says that Darwin lost faith in god after his daughter died.
    • The above two points paints the picture that Darwin was mentally unbalanced and bitter and may lead some viewers to a conclusion that perhaps his theories were motivated less by the search for truth than it is by bitterness or delusion.
    • I would love to read more about what we actually have as facts about Darwin's life and contrast it to the ideas explored by this film.
    • Darwin's wife reading his works and says, "may God forgive us", or something like that.
  3. After the film, there's a line that says Christians awarded something to Darwin after his death.
  4. The Title is 'Creation'.

All of the points above make me suspect that the creators of the film has a religious bias. It is as if, after the last two Pope's open admittance to that evolution is fact, this is now the religious' way to reconcile their conflicting beliefs to the fact of evolution. To me, this film seems to be trying to say that: "Evolution is still God's way of doing things". Is this a statement that was consciously crafted by the makers and financiers of this film? Or is it just my interpretation?

I might revise this review once I have researched more on the facts that we have on Darwin: from his letters and his works.

In terms of script, acting and so on, this film is okay but is no more or less spectacular than other well-crafted films highlighting the emotional and mental struggles of any man dealing with grief and coming to realise what love means.

In a way though, this film may serve to introduce Darwin to the very religious and perhaps gives the assurance that Darwin was not some sort of  a devil but rather, an ordinary man. This hopefully encourages religious people to open books on evolution and actually learn to understand it.

Overall, however, given that Darwin's theories were revolutionary, this film could have been more. At a time when the existence of God is being hotly debated, the film had the potential to contribute by perhaps exploring Charles Darwin, Natural Selection and Evolution from a much broader perspective. Because of these expectations, I was disappointed. There is definitely a market for another film on Darwin.

My Rating on 'Creation':

1/10 - If you're hoping that it will add something new to the current discourse on faith vs reason.

7/10 - If you're looking for drama.

Last modified on Monday, 30 January 2012 23:05

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