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Film Review: Radioactive

This bio-pic of Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, stars Rosamund Pike.

Want to know more about the first woman to win a Nobel Prize?

With a string of awards earnt throughout her career for her scientific research, Marie Curie’s life is depicted on screen in Radioactive, a drama based on the 2010 novel by Lauren Redniss and adapted to screenplay by Jack Thorne.

Filmed on location in Budapest and Spain, with Iranian born director Marjane Satrap at the helm, multiple award winning Gone Girl actress Rosamund Pike plays the role of the only person in Nobel Prize history to win the prize in two scientific fields, the outstanding physicist and chemist, Marie Curie.

Director Satrap who is best known for Persepolis (both the novel and the film), which follows her life as a teenage girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, is the ideal choice of director for portraying the intracies involved in being a woman living in an oppressive climate where gender roles are assumed.

The movie starts with the end and the story is told as Curie relives the poignant and joyful memories that make up her life story. These include how she met her husband, the moment they collaboratively discovered both polonium and radium, their time spent together as a family and of course, the science that changed the world.

The film takes liberties to go beyond the life of Curie to illustrate the impact of the scientific discovery by interweaving scenes of its use in the future. There are flashes of Chernobyl and Hiroshima; conversely there are the X-Ray machines that saved over a million lives in the war and the treatment of cancer patients.

The interweaving of these scenes enhance the story yet the attempt to express the inner sufferings of Marie Curie’s life, such as the scene after the death of her husband Pierre in which the billowing costume of the dancer is mixed with her and her memories, comes across as a bit obscure. They detract rather than connect us to the protagonist – yet the reality of the story alone is sufficient to feel her pain. Radioactive is a film worth the watch.

FASCINATING 3 stars

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