Radioactive is the true story of Marie Curie, the discoverer of radium and polonium, winner of two Nobel Prizes, and a pioneering researcher into radioactivity.
Radioactive stars Rosamund Pike as Marie Curie in a demanding role that covered about 30 years of the scientist’s public and personal life. Pike’s portrayal of the prickly, passionate Curie is fascinating.
According to the bio on Wikipedia, the film covers the facts quite well. We see Marie’s marriage to Pierre Curie (Sam Riley), the birth of her two daughters, the accolades and the villification that were part of her life, and her relentless pursuit of science.
I learned some things I hadn’t know about her, such as her affair with the married Paul Langevin (Aneurin Barnard) after her husband died. I learned about her hauling portable X-ray machines around the battlefields of WWI with her daughter Irène (at age 18 Anya Taylor-Joy) to save many lives.
Radioactive was directed by Marjane Satrapi with a screenplay by Jack Thorne based on the book by Lauren Redniss. It had moments showing both the promising and horrifying future that Marie Curie couldn’t have known about because she died in 1934. Hell, she slept with a tube of radium in her bed, never admitting what it could do to her. These moments showed things like the bombing of Hiroshima, the use of radiation to treat cancer, atom bomb testing in Nevada, and the meltdown at Chernobyl. It was accompanied by a new agey soundtrack by Philip Glass.
Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist, a take no BS woman in a man’s world who was smarter than all of them. She insisted on scientific proof but was irrationally afraid of hospitals. She achieved things that no other person male or female has yet achieved. She was the first woman at many achievements.
Because I learned so much about Marie Curie from this film I’m recommending it. It has its flaws and isn’t the best film of the year, but it tells a story worth knowing. The film is streaming on Prime Video.
Watch the trailer.
If you’ve seen the film, your comments would be appreciated.