CAROLINE: I didn’t get to see this with you, but I understand it’s about Darwin. Which is appropriate since it was just the 150th anniversary of his book, The Origin of Species.
RYAN: Yes, and this movie is about his writing of that very book. It’s really interesting, and it’s a true period piece. The costumes, the setting and even the medicinal methods they use are so cool to see. I wish, however, that they hadn’t been true to period on Paul Bettany’s hairstyle. It’s tragic to see that hair on an otherwise attractive man.
CAROLINE: He often looks ugly in movies, doesn’t he?
RYAN: It’s kind of his thing, I guess.
RYAN: Well, he tells the story by speaking to his dead daughter who is haunting him. The young girl is a first-time actress and she’s great; I loved all her scenes. I just wish Jennifer Connelly had been in it more. She only had a few good scenes.
CAROLINE: How’s her hair?
RYAN: It’s fine. She wears it up a lot. This movie is almost like a psychological thriller in parts. It gets kind of trippy, especially because Darwin takes this medicine that makes him hallucinate. They show his mind and what he’s thinking and how he comes up with his theories of evolution.
CAROLINE: That sounds really interesting, actually. I saw an exhibit at the Natural History museum that sounds just like it.
CAROLINE: Was it ever slow or boring?
RYAN: It lagged a bit in the middle, but it’s pretty good overall. It’s one of those movies where I was grossed out and not that into it while I was watching it, but once it ended I was like, “Wow, that was good.”
CAROLINE: I totally know what you mean.
— BOTTOM LINE —
RYAN: It’s a quiet character study about one man’s sadness and how it resulted in one of the most influential books of all time. It’s great to see Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly acting together; they have great chemistry and that was a treat. But I would have liked more J. Co. At the end of the day, it’s a rental.
— RATING —