A kind, funny and humble family man, Darwin is as endearing as they come, and yet he refuses to sing or pray in church, walks abruptly out of a service and takes issue with the cruel local vicar.
He can’t accept the idea of a God who would knowingly create parasitic, tortuous creatures, or sculpt a system featuring so much natural wastage. The guileless candour of his winsome and fiercely bright daughter also encourages Darwin to pursue his scientific endeavours.
Evolution and doubt are equated with truth and courage throughout the film, and the adverse consequences of blind faith and superstition are amply demonstrated.
The film is nuanced and intelligent enough, however, not to cast all its religious characters as merely backward. Emma is a complex yet ultimately sympathetic God-botherer; in the end, paradoxically, she is redeemed in the eyes of the viewer by a faithless yet utterly faithful gesture.
“God-botherer”? That’s a new one. I like it. Dismissive of God without being overly offensive.
I wish the producers would hurry up and find an American distributor already so I could see this film…