Creation People who invent something big and bold and earth-shattering — it could be the light-bulb, rock & roll, or the theory of evolution — tend… Creation People who invent something big and bold and earth-shattering — it could be the light-bulb, rock & roll, or the theory of evolution — tend… 2010-01-22 PG-13 PT108M Drama Historical Paul Bettany Jennifer Connelly Newmarket Films
Movie Review

Creation (2010)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Jennifer Connelly, Creation | MONKEY BUSINESS Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly evolve as husband and wife in Creation
Image credit: Liam Daniel
MONKEY BUSINESS Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly evolve as husband and wife in Creation
EW's GRADE
C-

Details Release Date: Jan 22, 2010; Rated: PG-13; Length: 108 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Historical; With: Paul Bettany; Distributor: Newmarket Films

People who invent something big and bold and earth-shattering — it could be the light-bulb, rock & roll, or the theory of evolution — tend to be powerful figures with implacable, high-and-mighty egos. That's one of the reasons we like watching dramatizations of their lives. But Creation, the story of Charles Darwin's struggle to bring his grand theory of evolutionary biology into being (survival of the fittest and all that), is one of those tepid, genteel biopics that's far too busy ennobling its hero to bother giving him any recklessly interesting personality traits. As Darwin, the normally fierce Paul Bettany comes off like a cringing, cowering country beadle right out of Dickens. He doesn't fight for his theory — he apologizes for it. Darwin knows all too well that the revolution he's creating undercuts the concept of creation at the heart of the Bible. His wife (Jennifer Connelly), however, is a devout Christian, and he spends the movie twisting his soul in knots to please her and everyone else.

Sticking true to his ideas has reduced Darwin to a quivering mass of ailments. But how did he devise those ideas in the first place? Creation is set in the late 1850s, when Darwin's conceptualization of evolutionary theory is already a done deal (though he still soaks bird carcasses in acid to study their skeletons). We're denied the pleasure of an ''Aha!'' moment — or, for that matter, any real explanation of Darwin's thought processes. The movie, directed by Jon Amiel (Entrapment) from a script by John Collee, is mostly 
 rudderless domestic strife. Darwin turned the world upside down, but there was more drama seeing Greg Kinnear play the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper in Flash of Genius. As a form, the biopic needs to make the past feel like the present. It long ago evolved past waxwork tributes like Creation. C-

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Originally posted Jan 20, 2010 Published in issue #1087 Jan 29, 2010 Order article reprints