Darwin’s Darkest Hour

Darwin’s Darkest Hour

I’ve been looking forward to watching this particular film for a long time, unfortunately in our area there’s not much in the way of video rentals, so we wait for movies and documentaries to be available to us online.  Finally today, I found Darwin’s Darkest Hour at the NOVA website.  Written by the Brittish screenwriter, John Goldsmith, and directed by John Bradshaw, with Henry Ian Cusick (from Lost) and Frances O’Connor (Mansfield Park, The Importance of Being Earnest) cast in the starring roles, this is a special presentation from NOVA and National Geographic Television.  Eagerly I watched it through right away.

I found it a very moving film which portrays the turmoil Darwin felt at the prospect of publishing his ideas.  He was genuinely concerned about the effect such a profound concept would have upon his family and friends, for he had already seen the nature of the pious man called to question his beliefs.  The faithful are easily upset in regards to their scriptures and beliefs, they can become agitated and angry; this is something that has not changed since Darwin’s time.  Today religion is as tender a subject as it ever was.

At the same time that Darwin was steeling himself to make public his Origin of Species, he was suffering the loss of two children to scarlet fever.  It was not an easy time for the Darwins, yet his wife stood strong by his side, even encouraging Charles to fulfill his dream of the big book (Origin of Species).  I admire her for her confidence in her husband and his ideas, the portrayal of Emma in this film makes me curious to know more about her, and more about the great women behind the great men throughout history.  But that curiosity we’ll explore another time.

Charles Darwin was a naturalist at heart.  Observing the natural world around him, collecting specimens, making comparisons and more observations, was a passion he developed at a very young age, and which was consistent throughout his life.  The portrayal of the Darwin family here, the way Darwin presents his children lessons in science is inspiring.  I love how Darwin’s enthusiasm infects his family, and I admit I feel a certain amount of camaraderie with this character, for my own unbridled passion has been known to be somewhat infectious, depending on the proximity.

This was a motivating movie for me, and I hope the reader will heed my recommendation to watch Darwin’s Darkest Hour.  At the very least, bookmark this page, so you might watch it at a later date.

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