Story

Creation tells the story of Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany). It looks at him both as a loving father closely involved in his family’s life, and as the talented naturalist who developed the world-changing theory of natural selection. It shows how his private life influenced and conflicted with his life’s work.

Darwin and his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) struggle to deal with grief and guilt related to the death of their second child, Annie (Martha West). Annie was her father’s favourite and keenly interested in his work. Since her death, Darwin has been haunted by his daughter’s memory. He has also imagined conversations with her.

Darwin’s grief and wavering religious faith play a crucial role in the problems he has with finishing The Origin of Species. He can’t write because he’s concerned about contradicting his wife’s religious beliefs and about the controversial nature of his theory.

Themes

Death of a child; grief and loss; children as victims; cruelty to animals; loss of religious faith

Violence

This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • Scared children are swapped for buttons and taken away, kicking and screaming, by soldiers.
  • Savage-looking men with spears stalk an orang-utan. They throw a net over the orang-utan, put her in a cage, and take her away on a boat.
  • A fox pounces on a rabbit and rips at its neck. The rabbit cries out. This scene upsets a child, who cries and pleads with her father to stop the fox from killing the rabbit.
  • A man lifts a bird from a cage and breaks its neck.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Darwin and his wife have some intense arguments.
  • A naked dead boy is wheeled away on a bed in a hospital.
  • Bird skeletons with red, raw flesh are lifted from a steaming pot. Their feet are tied together.
  • Dead birds hang from the roof in a shed.
  • Darwin pulls apart a cocoon, revealing its sticky insides crawling with bugs.
  • A small bird falls from its nest onto the ground and dies. The dead bird is then eaten by slugs and bugs.
  • A rotting animal skull crawling with maggots lies in the grass. Birds eat the maggots.
  • Fetuses and creatures are seen in formaldehyde in jars. In a dream scene, one of the bottled fetuses starts wriggling and screaming.

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes described above, particularly those involving children and family arguments.

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might be disturbed by the theme concerning the death of a child and its effects on the family.

Sexual references

This movie contains some sexual references. For example, the opening credits include references to sperm and ova.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Some men are shown naked except for loin cloths.
  • Children remove their clothes and run away naked when pursued by soldiers.
  • There is a back view of Darwin naked in an outdoor shower.
  • Darwin and his wife are shown in bed together.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Creation is a sometimes sombre and gloomy drama. It is also a moving story. Scary scenes make it unsuitable for children under eight. Also, the movie’s themes and sometimes confusing flashbacks and conversations between Darwin and his dead daughter make it more suited to an adolescent and adult audience.

The main message from this movie is the importance of family.

This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:

  • death in the family
  • religious faith and belief in God
  • evolutionary theory.