This week's movie rental was Creation, a 2009 British film about Charles Darwin, starring Paul Bettany (Dustfinger!) and Jennifer Connelly, and based on the book Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution by Randal Keynes, Darwin's great-great grandson.
The acting was good, the cinematography was really well done with lots of arresting images, the story quite interesting - it told of the relationships between Darwin and his family, his friends Huxley and Hooker, and God, and the stresses on those relationships due to the writing and planned publication of On the Origin of Species. Having said that, I found the movie sad and disturbing. The pathos of Darwin losing his daughter to death was really painful, there were scenes (like the killing and skeletonizing of pigeons) that I wish I could erase from my mind, and the characters seemed to divide up into two polarized groups - Darwin's wife and the h minister (John Brodie-Innes) were on religion's side, and Darwin's daughter and his friends were on the science side (an anguished Darwin seemed almost caught in the middle between them).
I found the pov of religion as expressed in the movie to be pretty awful. The minister prayed ... Dear God, we know the world is governed by thy plan, extending to the merest creatures thou hast made, such that even a sparrow falls not to the ground without thy will. Teach us that all misfortune, all sickness and death, all the trials and miseries of which we daily complain, are intended for our good ....
I wasn't any more consoled by the science pov in the movie, offered by Darwin's brightly smiling daughter explaining away the killing of a rabbit by a fox as not worth tears because it was simply the way things were.
Somebody please tell me there's another way of looking at all the suffering in life that doesn't explain it away as a grotesque object lesson, or as a reductionist interpretation of the inevitable equaling the good.