Rated 2.0

You don’t have to be a right-wing religious zealot to find this eager and ingratiating Charles Darwin biopic distasteful. In fact, it’s plenty tasteful, with lots of pretty cinematography, gravely anguished acting, ostentatious music and, of course, ideas. It concerns the personal demons with which Darwin did battle before apparently quite reluctantly roiling the Christian establishment by publishing On the Origin of Species in 1859. Real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly play the testily married Darwins, riven by mutual failure to accept not just the shattering implications of the man’s theory but also the loss of his favorite daughter. And so an opportunity to humanize that great, longstanding conflict between the distinctly soul-challenging systems of science and religion becomes instead a drippy dead-child family melodrama. John Collee’s script, based on a book by Darwin descendant Randal Keynes, does suit director Jon Amiel’s heavy hand, but the results seem useful only as a caution against cinematic inbreeding.