- 1 hr 43 min
In 2019, director Marjane Satrapi brought an intense biographical drama titled "Radioactive" that explores the life and career of one of the most remarkable scientists in history, Marie Curie. The movie is an adaptation of a graphic novel by Lauren Redniss titled "Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout". Marie Curie, a woman of unparalleled intellect and determination, was a Polish physicist and chemist who primarily conducted most of her pioneering research in France. She discovered polonium and radium, two of the most radioactive elements on the planet. Her discoveries led to a significant breakthrough in scientific research and ultimately earned her two Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry, respectively.
Rosamund Pike delivers a tour de force performance as Marie Curie, capturing her fiery spirit and all-consuming passion for science. The movie revolves around her obsessive desire for discovery, relentless struggle to achieve recognition in a male-dominated field, and her determination to use science for the betterment of society.
The film mostly follows the thematic structure of a typical Hollywood biopic, chronicling the most important milestones in Curie's life. However, Satrapi handles the material with sensitivity and imagination, adding a unique visual flair to the storytelling. The director incessantly employs a collage of images, flashes of future events, and flowing animated graphics that not only enhance the atmosphere of the film but also help convey some of the more complicated scientific concepts.
What sets this movie apart from other biopics is the inclusion of the fallout effects of Curie's discovery of radioactivity, both literally and figuratively. Satrapi intersperses the narrative with scenes of the aftermath of the atomic bombs and the cancer treatments used today, highlighting the profound impact of Curie's research on the world. Thus, the film becomes a cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific progress.
Another notable aspect of the movie is the portrayal of Curie's relationship with her husband Pierre Curie, played by Sam Riley. The film depicts their love story and scientific partnership with great nuance, capturing the intense chemistry between them. Unlike most cinematic depictions of genius, both characters are given equal importance, and their love for each other and their work is beautifully intertwined.
The movie also shows Curie facing a series of obstacles throughout her career, including sexism, hostility from her male colleagues, and condemnation from conservative elements in society. The film covers her struggles in-depth, without ever sidestepping the challenges she faced due to her gender.
Undoubtedly, Rosamund Pike's performance as Marie Curie is the highlight of the film. She brings an impressive range to the role, effortlessly jumping from moments of jubilation and discovery to scenes of loneliness and despair. Her portrayal is both moving and dazzling, conveying the complexity of Curie's character with remarkable skill.
Yvette Feuer and Mirjam Novak, who play Curie's daughters Irene and Eve, respectively, are another highlight of the film. Both actresses give nuanced performances that are essential to the emotional and social themes of the movie. They add layers of depth to Curie's personality, showing her as not only a trailblazing scientist but also a loving mother and a woman dealing with the complex struggles of life.
In conclusion, "Radioactive" is a compelling biopic that does justice to the legacy of one of the most remarkable women in history. Anchored by a terrific performance from Rosamund Pike and supported by impressive storytelling, the movie is both an engaging portrait of a genius and a cautionary tale about the impact of science on society.
Radioactive is a 2020 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 56.