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updated 02/01/2010 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/01/2010 AT 01:00 AM EST


Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Jeremy Northam| PG-13 |

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Who knew writer's block could be so riveting? Watching Charles Darwin find the courage to publish On the Origin of Species, his treatise on evolution, delivers surprising domestic drama and religious controversy. When a colleague predicts that Darwin's work will "kill God," the scientist (Bettany) worries what his deeply religious wife, Emma (Connelly), will think—especially after the duo are divided over a tragic loss at home. The dream sequences get to be a bit much for such an intelligent period piece, based on a book by Darwin's great-great-grandson, but the sweet chemistry between the real-life couple helps bring dry history to vibrant life.

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