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Length: 108 minutes (1 hour and 48 minutes)
Age Appropriateness Rating: This film is safe for students in grades 7 through 12, with no nudity or extreme violence. However, the complex theme and subject matter may prove difficult for most 7th and 8th graders.
Creators and Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany
Historical Accuracy: Like the majority of historical biographical films, much in this movie is fiction and conjecture. It is, however, grounded in reality, with no major "wait a minute...that never happened" moments.
Review: This film covers the life of Charles Darwin immediately prior to the publication of On the Origin of Species. His daughter, Annie, has died. Darwin's religious wife believes that his views on evolution are opposed to religion, and therefore, that Darwin's view of the world will leave her separated from him (and perhaps from their daughter) in the afterlife.
For teachers and/or parents screening this film with children, be aware that the overarching theme of the movie is the conflict that the theory of evolution created between religion and science. This is not a movie chronicling the life of Darwin, nor is it a science-themed film meant to describe how he came to his conclusions.
The film makes no judgment for either side of the religion v. science debate, thereby making this film appropriate for sparking a discussion on the impact that science made on religious views during this time. Discussion questions might include: (1) Did science begin to replace religion during this time (circa 1860)? (2) How would you have reacted to Darwin's theory, if you had lived during this time? (3) Are science and religion compatible? (4) The setting of this film is just over 150 years ago. Have the questions raised by this film been answered? Why or why not?
|Miscellaneous: As experienced teachers and parents, we recognize that the number of teenagers who will like this film is rather small. Therefore, it is recommended for viewing only in advanced classes, or with parents in the home. In other words, the average teenager will lose interest in this film fairly quickly.
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Creation Movie Review Publication Date for Citation Purposes: March 10, 2012