Just when it seemed that the Darwin biopic Creation, which hit theaters last weekend in the UK, would never see daylight in the United States, a distributor has stepped forward. Newmarket Films, the same company that distributed The Passion of the Christ in the United States, have announced their intentions to make sure Creation hits American theaters this December.
Initially, the fate of the film in America seemed unsure thanks to fears of backlash over the controversial subject of the film. The movie centers around Charles Darwin’s life during the writing of On the Origin of Species, including how the death of his beloved daughter Annie impacted his views of God and faith. Some distributors feared a film that directly engaged the science and religion dialogue and cast Darwin as its “hero” would be met with cries of outrage from young earth creationists and intelligent design advocates, who view Darwin’s theory as false and — in many cases — outright evil. (For more see Karl Giberson’s “Who Cares About Darwin?”).
Yet, Newmarket seems confident that viewers will find that the film handles its subject fairly and delicately. “While Darwin’s name has come to symbolize one side of a debate between the scientific and the theological,” announces their press release, “CREATION depicts the man as the debate in total, with both sides contending, sometimes violently, within him. In that sense, we believe that the film will appeal to people of faith and people of science.”
Initial reviews of the film seem to agree. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “It would be a great shame if those with religious convictions spurned the film out of hand as they will find it even-handed and wise.” Eugenie Scott, the director of the National Center for Science Education, has said, “I believe [Creation] to be a thoughtful, well-made film that will change many views of Darwin held by the public–for the good.”