- Directors: Jon Amiel
- Producers: Jeremy Thomas
- Writers: John Collee
- Genres: Biography, Drama
- Actors: Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Jeremy Northam, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch
Following the death of his eldest daughter Annie in 1851, English naturalist Charles Darwin has a crisis of faith. Having returned from his expedition in the Galapagos Islands fifteen years earlier he has yet to compile his findings from his notebooks.
Darwin has an unshakeable illness and cannot write, though his friends Joseph Dalton Hooker and Thomas Henry Huxley encourage him to finish his book, having read his 230 page synopsis. Darwin’s depression is also the cause of a rift with his wife, Emma, whose devout faith contrasts with Darwin’s own loss of faith. Darwin explains her refuge in religion as her reaction to Annie’s death.
To provide evidence for his theory Darwin breeds pigeons. Darwin is stopped when he is sent a letter by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855, which details the same findings as Darwin in twenty pages. He sees the discovery as a good thing, as he will not have to write his book and the strife with Emma will dissipate.
He subsequently visits Malvern to “take waters” and visit the guesthouse where Annie died. Cured of his illness after addressing his grief, Darwin finishes his manuscript and hands it to Emma to read, leaving the decision to publish in her hands. She reads it and packages it to send to the publishers.
Darwin dispatches the manuscript, and it is published on 24 November, 1859.