Directed by Jon Amiel
Despite biopicturing the composition of The Origin of Species, Creation seems to take us back to the genesis not of evolutionary biology, but of psychoanalysis: before Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) can buckle down and write the little book that started the great debate, he and wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) have to finally talk through the devastating death of their beloved daughter Annie. A dream girl, fully and cutely attuned to her father's progressive theories and rational attitudes, Annie (Martha West) haunts Darwin in flashbacks and creepy-kid visitations, during which the great naturalist pours out his soul to his invisible-to-all-but-him interrogator. Origin of Species is finally a product of catharsis, earned after a return to the scene of Annie's death unbottles repressed memories and tears.
John Collee's script is adapted from Randal Keynes's domestically oriented biography Annie's Box, presumably the most accessible hook for a film produced to coincide with last year's observations of Darwin's bicentennial and the 150th anniversary of Origin's publication. Collee and director Jon Amiel dramatize the deicidal potential of Darwin's work through the rift between grieving Darwin's crisis of faith, and the mysterious ways favored by devout Emma (acting opposite her husband, the ever more drumskin-taut Connelly is perhaps too right for the role of a withered, withdrawn wife-martyr). In reducing a defining moment in humanism to parental grief porn, Creation all but ensures itself of being only the second most god-bothering Paul Bettany movie opening in New York on January 22nd. (Alas, I can't say for sure: Legion didn't screen for critics.)
Opens January 22