Radioactive is the Directorial brain child of Iranian-French filmmaker, Marjane Satrapi, known for her Oscar nomination for the 2007 phenomenon, Persepolis. It charts the life of Marie Curie (neé Marie Sklodowska).
Marjane Satrapi didn’t appear to want to simply produce a paint by numbers account of Marie Curie’s life, instead opting to offer two parallel stories. The first is the traditional one that charts the milestones in Curie’s life as a Polish Scientist living in France and a second that shows the impact of her research on humanity.
Rosamund Pike stars as Curie and, fresh from her role as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl, really delivers. She plays the steadfast Curie at a variety of ages. The film highlights her stoicism as she’s ignored, passed over, and rejected by the male dominated scientific community on a professional front; and cast aside by ‘polite society’ for decisions she made in her private life.
The timeline of Radioactive is very complicated and requires one’s full attention – all the time. However, once engaged it does make sense.
Radioactive explains Curie’s work with Radium and Polonium and the gradual discovery of radiation, before shining a mirror on the subsequent uses this had in later life. This may be perceived as dumbing down, but not everyone will be aware of this detail as portrayed by Marjane. The challenge for Marjane Satrapi was to bring to life this Titan of the scientific world and to show the audience what she achieved in spite of the obstacles placed before her. As a result, Radioactive is one of the better biopics you’ll see.★ ★ ★