I am not in Toronto this week, so I have not seen many of the films that have been premiering at the Great White North’s Great Festival. Which means I have not yet seen Creation, the opening night film of the festival. Starring Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin and real-life wife Jennifer Connolley as his wife Emma, the film traces Darwin’s growing disillusionment with religion after the death of their 10 year old daughter.
The film has apparently found distribution ‘everywhere else in the world’ except for America, and producer Jeremy Thomas says it’s because Americans are such stupid fucks. Speaking to the Telegraph he says, “It has got a deal everywhere
else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about.
People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet
nobody in the US has picked it up.
“It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in
America. There’s still a great belief that He made the world in six days.
It’s quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We
live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of
New York and LA, religion rules.”
Which is all well and good – the day after the Million Moron March in Washington DC (in which middle aged white people expressed their rage at having a black man in the White House), it’s hard to defend my fellow Americans. Except by noting that the film is apparently not that great. I don’t know who is telling Thomas that it’s the best film of the year, but I’ve been hearing from critics that it’s a borderline stinker – Greg Ellwood of HitFix.com walked out of the movie. Anne Thompson describes it as ‘Flat, dull, and painful to sit through.’ Even a semi-positive review from Variety calls the lead couple ‘monotonous.’ That’s not quite a rave.
I’m no expert, but it seems to me that if Creation were knocking their socks off at Toronto someone would have picked it up – hell, the anger of the Cro-Mag, afraid of fire Creationists would be amazing buzz for the picture. But the reality is that people don’t like the movie, which means that it’s not in an awards race, and a fucking Charles Darwin biopic in which the romantic leads are monotonous is good for one thing only: awards gold. This just isn’t the kind of movie that, even in the best of circumstances, packs ‘em in at the theaters, and without the Oscars the film is DOA.
As I said, I’m not in Toronto and I haven’t seen the film, so I can only guess. The truth, though, is that I’m more than a little sick of people who make stuffy, boring, bad movies blaming the American public for their failure. The American public has A LOT to answer for these days, but I suspect that Creation‘s inability to sell isn’t one of them.