Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Movie To Avoid

Via Pharyngula, I see that there's a movie about how Charles Darwin is haunted by the (metaphorical?) ghost of a dead child that is keeping him from finishing his work.

The Darwin we meet in CREATION is a young, vibrant father, husband and friend whose mental and physical health gradually buckles under the weight of guilt and grief for a lost child. Ultimately it is the ghost of Annie, his adored 10 year-old daughter who leads him out of darkness and helps him reconnect with his wife and family. Only then is he able to create the book that changed the world.


Here's what IMDB has to say about it:

What happens when a world-renowned scientist, crushed by the loss of his eldest daughter, conceives a book which will prove the non-existence of God.(sic) This is the story of Charles Darwin and his master-work "The Origin of Species". It tells of a global revolution played out the (sic) confines of a small English village; a passionate marriage torn apart by the most dangerous idea in history; and a theory saved from extinction by the logic of a child.

I would not hesitate to put forward liebensraum, dolchstosslegende, the modern self-made man, or even American exceptionalism as ideas far, far more dangerous than "hey, each individual is different from its parents and its children, thus species, as a whole, exhibit a tendency to change, given epochs to do it in."

Is this a movie we can only tell about Charles Darwin? Why not Galileo? This comes off as a cheap attempt to get back at "Darwinists" by "proving" that even Chuck D. needed some supernatural/emotional help, by producing a movie that doesn't sound like it will stand out from the crowd. Everyone knows, of course, that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but evolution is controversial, chiefly because religious leaders won't shut up about it.

Jennifer Connelly is in it. She's playing Chuck's religious wife, "whose faith contradicts his work." Generally, Jennifer makes good movies, but I'm afraid that this time she may have found a dog.

Is this a movie about Victorian values and ideas? Or is this a movie about modern values and ideas, wrapped up in a Victorian bow? Specifically, is Connelly's Mrs. Darwin going to be a 19th-century Anglican, or a 21st-century evangelist?

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