Radioactive, a film about the groundbreaking scientist Marie Curie, debuted on Amazon Prime video on Jul. 24. The movie is a loosely biographical story showcasing the life and accomplishments of the famous scientist. While the film is not entirely historically accurate, it is worth watching.
The movie follows Curie’s life experiences: meeting her husband, finding two new elements (polonium and radium), having children, winning two Nobel Prizes, and dying from radioactive poisoning because of her work. The film jumps between events, combining the past and present when they connect. The audience learns about a monumental experience that greatly affects Marie’s life — her mother’s death — through one of these flashbacks. These moments also preview the future calamities caused by the Curies’ discovery of new elements. The events put into perspective the harm that science can do. In some ways, watching this film feels like witnessing a slow murder and feeling something terrible coming, but none of the characters can see it. The movie’s flashbacks emphasize the bad that science does; however, Curie’s Marie’s pride and hope in her discoveries showcase the good that science is capable of.
Discovering the attitude and dedication of Curie in the film is extremely interesting. Unique for her time, she is proud, stubborn, sure, and analytical. She defies the stereotype that women only act on feelings, as she is level-headed through her husband’s death; though she struggles and makes many mistakes, she pushes through, refusing to regret her missteps. The film shows that while imperfect, Curie is a strong woman with a demeanor and personality that make her admirable.
The love story in the movie showcases partners who complement each other perfectly. Pierre, Marie’s husband, stands by her side through thick and thin, defending her until his death. They work together as colleagues and as partners, making remarkable discoveries. This relationship is the perfect dose of nerd love, making the film extremely watchable. One of the most impressive things about this film’s relationship is that Pierre is the one in the relationship reminding his wife to slow down. Marie does not fit the stereotype of the typical woman at that time; she does not dote, she is not primarily a homemaker, and she is not clingy. Throughout the movie, Pierre encourages and uplifts the female protagonist rather than berating her and pushing her to submit. He doesn’t expect her to be the perfect wife; he takes her as she is. Pierre’s death hits Marie very hard, showcasing that while she did not display her affection often, she cherished her husband. The pair’s relationship is healthy, something that most movies do not model.
Overall, Radioactive is a wonderful and significant biographical film retelling the life of Marie Curie and the legacy she left behind.