Year: 2009
Production Co: Ocean Pictures
Director: Jon Amiel
Writer: Jon Amiel/John Collee
Cast: Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Martha West, Toby Jones

Like many films lately, this had me questioning the historical accuracy, but it was no less entertaining or thought provoking for it.

Paul Bettany is a young Charles Darwin, years before the old man with the long beard we know from famous photos of him. He's finalising his draft of the book history tells us changed biology, On the Evolution of Species, and he's a man torn.

He can't ignore the evidence in front of him that life develops and endures with no need for the guiding hand of God, but his family life isn't making it easy for him. His wife (real life wife Jennifer Connelly) is a devoted Christian and he can't bring himself to denounce her belief.

He's also accompanied by the suspiciously insightful figure of his daughter Annie at inopportune times during his studies, and though I won't spoil the twist that explains her presence by explaining it here, she represents another belief he's too heartbroken to let go of.

While his supporters and benefactors implore him to publish, Darwin gets sicker and sicker from the stress of reason conflicting with faith, and the theme of the film is actually quite prescient in today's world of creationism being taught in schools.

It has a strong appeal if you're a science geek but it's a story very much about the people and what drives them and scares them. Bettany and Connelly have an easy relationship on screen that obviously reflects their real life marriage and the able supporting cast and period detail support them.

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