Creation Introduces Charles Darwin, the Father, Through the Music of Christopher Young
First we are fathers; then we are creators and authors, explorers and seekers. But first we are fathers. Anyone with a child knows this well. I realized this anew when watching Creation. It’s the story of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution. But really, it’s the story of Charles Darwin, the father of Annie, his joyous and beloved daughter, who died at age 10.
To be honest, Creation kind of broke me a little. I cannot imagine losing my daughter. I didn’t realize that is what Creation was about. Nor did I realize that the story of Darwin was filled with so much pain and suffering. Annie had been the laughter in his day and the joy in his life.
For some, Darwin is the man who won the war of science and religion. For others, he is the man who killed God. The idea destroyed him, so much so that he had difficultly writing because he feared the implications of his words – for all of humanity, but particularly for his wife Emma, a religious woman who found comfort in knowing that their beloved Annie was in a happier place.
What would a father do for his daughter? He would give the world. But sometimes, the world is not enough. And that tortured Darwin, causing him to question not just human evolution, but human nature itself.
As told through the movie Creation – with significant creative license I would think – Darwin struggled personally, psychologically and existentially, with the loss of his beloved girl and the questions it raised in his heart and mind. (What divides the savage from the civilized, the ape from the man? Very little. Each has the capacity for compassion and aggression, love and hate?)
If I lost my daughter, would I envision her in every day? Would I retreat into A Beatiful Mind or turn Caprica and evolve science in an attempt to birth an avatar that captured all that she was? Would I simply break? Pray that I never know. Even watching the prospect in 100 minutes of film shattered me into 100,000 fragments of self.
It is a beautiful, but painful story told by director Jon Amiel through Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, and realized through the music of Christopher Young. Emma Darwin was an exceptional pianist. Darwin even wrote later about the role of music in courtship.
The score for Creation is elegant and memorable, as if I had heard the songs before, yet there was only one song in the movie besides the original music by Christopher Young – Etude Op. 25 No. 11 “Winter Wind” by Elena Nalimova.