Synopsis: What happens when a world-renowned scientist, crushed by the loss of his eldest daughter, formulates a theory in conflict with religious dogma? This is the story of Charles Darwin and his master-work "The Origin of Species". It tells of a global revolution played out within the confines of a small English village; a passionate marriage torn apart by the most dangerous idea in history; and a theory saved from extinction by the logic of a child.
Director(s): Jon Amiel
Production: Newmarket Films
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
108 min


- Tell me a story.

- Alright. What about?

I don't know. About everything.


Very well, then.

In Tierra del Fuego, land of fire...

...a blighted and loveless country

on the Earth's furthest rim,

lives a community

of the dirtiest, most vulgar,

least civilised people

you can possibly imagine.

They appeared almost entirely naked

with their hair

all the way down to their bottoms.

They never washed their hands

or their faces, even before dinner.

One day, Captain Fitzroy

went ashore to meet them.

Thank you.

Not long now. I shall be with you

presently. Head to me, please.

Very good. Now, very still, please.

No fidgeting.

And above all, no smiling.

- Excuse me, sir?

- Hmm?

- Will this hurt?

- Oh, no, no, no.

It is only a beam of light.

- Papa?

- Hmm?

How can light make a picture?

Well, they take a copper plate

and they prepare it with chemicals,

and these chemicals are activated

by the light that reflects back

from your face,

and so the silver

sticks to the places where the light

is brightest. Understand?


- Sorry. So sorry.

- No, thank you.

- Go on. He went ashore to meet them.

- Yes, that's right.

So, erm, Captain Fitzroy went ashore

to interview the Fuegians.


He offered them

some axe heads, some calico,

and very pretty buttons.

Total value, probably two shillings.

This is yours. You take it.

Look how it... Look how it glisters.


And all he asked in return?

A few spare children.

You give me el nia.

To the Fuegians, children

were cheap and buttons were precious,

so it wasn't long

before the Fuegians had their trinkets

and Captain Fitzroy

had his three children.

He named them Boat Memory...

...Jemmy Button and Fuegia Basket.

Come here, you dirty little beggar!

The good captain

had them washed and dressed,

and he taught them

the proper table manners.

Boat Memory died of smallpox,

but the two littlest ones,

they learned their prayers

and their times-tables so excellently

that they were invited

to meet the King and Queen.

Everyone agreed

that good Christian values

had tamed the most savage of hearts.

The King gave Jemmy

a genuine brass telescope

and the Queen gave Fuegia one of her

Sunday best bonnets to keep for ever.

Two years later,

Captain Fitzroy and I took them home,

accompanied by a young missionary,

in the belief that, by example,

they would bring their fellow savages

to God.

And what do you think happened?

It didn't work.

That's right. Of course it didn't work!

- Go after them, you fool! Get them now.

- Jemmy! Fuegia!

Put your clothes back on! Come back!

It was a complete and total failure.

No, no, no!

Quite still, didn't I say?

You shall have to do it all over again.

So sorry. So badly behaved. So sorry.

Mr Darwin, sir?

Come on, Mr Darwin,

or your dinner will be spoiling.

Mr D will be in presently, ma'am.

I imagine.

- Thank you, Mrs Davies.

- Is Papa unwell again?

- He's always unwell these days.

- He is not, Franky.

Maybe he caught something awful

from the Hottentots.

Nanny Brodie said

God was angry with him.

- Brodie said no such thing.

- Yes, she did!

- Good evening.

- Good evening, Papa.

Sorry I'm so late.

Soup du jour, sir.

Thank you, Parslow.

Lord God, bless this family

and the food we eat.

- We ask in Thy name. Amen.

- Amen.

I hear Mr Hooker is coming tomorrow.

Yes. Yes, that's right.

Did he say what it was about?

I'm not sure

that now's the time to discuss it.

Perhaps the time to discuss it

was before you invited him.

Well, quite possibly, but he...

He invited himself.

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John Collee

John Gerald Collee (born 1955) is a Scottish screenwriter whose film scripts include Master and Commander (2003), Happy Feet (2006), Creation (2009), and Walking with Dinosaurs (2013). He is also a journalist and a novelist. Collee practised medicine and wrote several novels before he became a full-time screenwriter. He is married to Deborah Snow, with whom he has three children. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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