“Creation” Premieres in Selected Cities

Hey folks, just a heads up:

“Creation”, the new film about Charles Darwin, which stars Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, premieres on Friday, January 22, in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, DC.

Now, I have not seen the movie, so I can’t recommend it based on its cinematic merits, but some in the scientific community are promoting the film for its positive portrayal of Darwin the man, and for the fact that the medium of film can expose him and his ideas to a very broad audience. Says Robert Luhn, Director of Communications at the National Center for Science Education:

“If there is a strong turnout the opening weekend, the movie will stay in theaters longer, which will generate buzz, which will keep it in theaters longer. And that means more people will see Darwin (and his ideas) presented in a more positive light.”

More after the fold.

The movie is based on “Annie’s Box” (“Creation: Darwin, His Daughter & Human Evolution” in the U.S.), written by Randal Keynes, Darwin’s great-great-grandson. As you can imagine, creationists are already starting to huff and puff about the film. But as NCSE’s Genie Scott notes in her full review:

“Creation” is a “thoughtful, well-made film that will change many views of Darwin held by the public–for the better.”

The film apparently downplays the perception of Darwin as the figure responsible for so much brilliance and controversy. Olivia Judson, in the New York Times, says:

“Too often, Darwin is depicted as a kind of fossil: an old man with a huge beard looking as though he’s 350. It’s refreshing to see him looking young and handsome…more to the point, Bettany shows Darwin as a man rather than icon, imbuing him with life and love, gentleness and anxiety, tears and laughter. This alone makes it an important film.”

And the author of the book, Randal Keynes, sums up his great-great-grandfather as follows:

“[Darwin’s] love for his wife; his observations of his children; his friendships with gardeners, schoolteachers and pigeon fanciers; his fears about death, revolution, bankruptcy, inbreeding…all these things found their way into his theory. He was the most inclusive of thinkers.”

So perhaps if you find yourself in one of the selected cities, this film can find its way onto your entertainment agenda. The “Creation” national run begins on January 22 in the following markets:

New York City:
Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema
Clearview’s 1st & 62nd

Los Angeles:
The Landmark

San Francisco Bay Area:
Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema (SF)
Landmark’s Shattuck (Berkeley)

Washington, DC
Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Landmark’s Kendall Square

Group rates may be available–readers should contact the theater in question.

Want to meet the author, the filmmaker, and/or evolution experts?

For those in the Bay Area, the Embarcadero Center Cinema (in San Francisco) will host a Q&A panel after the 7:30pm screening on the 22nd featuring the film’s director Jon Amiel, Dr. Eugenie Scott of the NCSE, and Dr. Kevin Padian, Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator in the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley.

For those in Los Angeles, there’s still time to slip into an **advance** 7:30pm screening at UCLA on January 19. The Q&A panel will feature author Randal Keynes, Director Jon Amiel, and UCLA professors Soraya De Chadarevian (history) and Anthony Friscia (ecology and evolutionary biology). The screening if free, but you must RSVP at

For those in the Boston area, there’s an **advance** screening on January 14, 7pm, at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. The Q&A panel includes author Randal Keynes, and professors Thomas Glick and Jon Roberts of Boston University. RSVP at [email protected]

For more info about the movie, trailers, schedules, etc., check:

The official site

The Facebook page

The Twitter feed

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. Not to fling feces at the party, but I saw it a couple o months ago by accident (“sneak preview” here in the NL is a cheaper cinema showing where nobody knows what they’re gonna watch) and I’m sad to report that as a serious movie it’s a bit crap.

    It has the right tone, I might say, and will hopefully learn some people that they’re just mammals, so go and support it, but it was a bit boring and over dramatic in a slightly-above-average-budget Britishy kind of way.

  2. I’ve seen it here in the UK and I thought it was a good film. Not very heavy on the science, but more a period piece about Darwin and his family. Bethany and Connelly really pulled off a great Mr. & Mrs. Darwin (perhaps because they’re also a real-life item?). Huxley is portrayed as more of a little obnoxious man than I believe he was, but oh well…

    Seriously, good cinematography, good acting, but don’t expect Darwin to save the world amidst some big explosions, and a final, brutal showdown between him and Wilberforce on top of the Tower Bridge under construction.

  3. @Dax: Now that is a movie I would go see. I love me some Inglorious Basterds-style revisionist history revenge fantasy.

    Unfortunately, I have very little interest in period dramas about family. I hope this movie does well, but I would bet that skeptics are more likely to pay for a movie they want to see than to do so on ideological grounds. We’re probably a less predictable built-in audience than the religious folk.

  4. I watched it this evening and while it starts off really, really well, the last half of it descends into the kind of period family melodrama that wouldn’t look out of place in the schedule of a Sunday evening on the BBC.

    It’s somewhat of a shame that it begins so well – in particular a sequence that zooms inwards from a bucolic picnic with the Darwin family to the brutality of nature all around them, only to plod laboriously down such well trodden paths soon after that.

    The performances are as good as you would expect from such Oscar-baiting material, Jennifer Connely is given next to nothing to do but be pious, frail and fertile but this is more the fault of the script than her, Paul Bettany is quite brilliant as Charles (and certainly looks strapping in some rather revealing breeches) but the real star is “Jenny”, an orangutan whose few scenes are imbued with an emotional punch far greater than anything else in the film. Best. Ape. Acting. EVER.

    In short, worth watching but not half the film it should have been. The story of just about any other period in Darwin’s life would be more interesting, dramatic and insightful than this one.

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