Creation is a biopic about Charles Darwin, during the period in his life when he wrote ‘The Origin Of Species’. Darwin at this point in his life struggles with his ideas, science and religion. All the while he is suffering from an unknown illness, the loss of a child and a strained relationship with his life. Charles Darwin is played by Paul Bettany, a great actor who does great work here. His wife Emma Darwin is played by his real life wife Jennifer Connelly, who is a great actress and guess what? She does great work here too. Jeremy Northam plays the Reverend Innes, another great performance for the film. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Joseph Hooker, and yes I am going to use the word great here again. The real stand out performance however is from Martha West who plays Annie Darwin their daughter.
At the heart of this film lies the relationship between Charles and his daughter Annie, they have this close bond, she loves her father and she listens to him. She sees what he sees, she is intelligent and in a way it felt like she wanted to be like him. Her loss affects him greatly, and it is handled so carefully in this film and in such a way you can see the cracks showing with Charles. You do not know how it happened though, you do work out however that Annie has passed on and as the film progresses you slowly see the events leading up to it and why his relationship with Emma has gone the way it has. This film is not told in chronological order and that actually worked fine for me. If you aren’t familiar with Charles Darwin you will find a few surprises here and there. I found this film had some amazing moments, like the story Annie always wants to hear her father tell about an orangutang and his relationship with her.
As I mentioned earlier, the performances are all great and they really make this film work. Great casting all round, with some great chemistry flowing between all the actors. It is too bad Tobey Jones had a cameo and his role wasn’t bigger, that man is pretty fantastic all round. Despite how you might feel about the man, this story does make for an interesting and touching film. They chose to tell a story at this difficult period in his life, all the while he managed to write one of the most important books. The cinematography is really quite amazing, it really captures the time and the mood of the film. The costume design is really fantastic as well, so well done, I really liked it. The make-up as well was top notch, as they really made Paul Bettany almost unrecognisable and there is quite a decent likeness with Charles. Creation is a really well made film, very solid and a different kind of biopic. Where most tell the story from the early days to the last days, this one picks a period of time and goes from there. I actually would welcome another film with the same people behind it, telling the stories of other aspects of his life. Everything just really worked and came together so well, I enjoyed watching this quite a lot.