The blurb :
Paul Bettany stars as Charles Darwin in this BBC biographical drama that captures the legendary scientist in a period of intense mourning -- and expansive intellectual discovery -- following the untimely death of his young daughter, Annie. As Darwin dares to question the existence of God, he pens his groundbreaking tome, On the Origin of Species -- much to the chagrin of his religious wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly).
On one hand, the movie has Jennifer Connelly but on the other hand it has so much melodrama. Sure Jennifer Connelly is nice to look at but that isn't enough to carry a movie. Frankly I thought it was boring. There were a few good scenes but also a fair amount of pretension. It seems they spent a surprising amount of money on special effects.
There is a character connection between Darwin and his daughter Annie but the 3 other children are props. Darwin and Emma (Jennifer Connelly) are basically strangers sharing the screen. In one of the bonus features it is noted that Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly are actually married. The science and the religious consequences were simple backgrounds for the personal drama. I think it was a terrible movie mostly because my expectations of what it would be were so far off from what was delivered.
There seems to be a specific genre of film where they take science and scientist and essentially ignore the science except for some jargon to set a scene and instead focus on a personal melodrama of the scientist. I think this misses the point. The science should be the focus and the argument and discovery and the ramifications should be the drama. A partial list :
The Imitation Game (2014) with Keira Knightley & Benedict Cumberbatch
Man Who Knew Infinity (2016) with Dev Patel & Jeremy Irons
"Based on a true story" but often instead of the hard science parts that can be verified and discoveries charted the "based on a true story" veneer gets stuck on the human drama where almost all of the dialog is lost to history and a writer has to make it all up.