Friday Film Review--"Radioactive"
Libby Wadman, with this week’s Friday Film Review, says that the true story of scientific pioneer Marie Curie is remarkable. But she says this latest film biography has its drawbacks.
Now streaming on Amazon is the new film “Radioactive” from director Marjane Satrapi, who is known for her graphic novel, “Persepolis” and for directing the movie based on that novel.
“Radioactive” is a bio-pic dramatizing the life of Marie Curie from the time she met her husband Pierre in 1894 until her death in 1934. Through this film, the viewer develops a stronger understanding of what Curie went through as a female in the all-male world of science. Her accomplishments would be impressive today, but put in the context of her time, they are utterly amazing.
Director Marjane Satrapi is an award-winning director who seems to have lost her way with “Radioactive.” While the storyline is a solid, straightforward bio-pic, Satrapi strays occasionally to scenes that would be better in a more artful film.
This, and sometimes-abrupt transitions to flash-forward scenes make “Radioactive” a less-than-polished film, given Satrapi’s talents.
Rosamund Pike, most recently known for “Gone Girl”, portrays Marie Curie with a performance that is commendable for its energy and depiction of a very rebellious Curie. Although that portion of her characterization is accurate, she falls short in her lack of emotional engagement with the other actors.
This element is particularly missed in her interactions with Sam Riley, who portrays her husband Pierre. The Curies were known for their passion, not only for science, but for each other. The lack of chemistry between the two actors makes the latter hard to believe. For his part, Riley tries to stir up the chemistry, but is sadly unsuccessful. The only way the film conveys any kind of passion between the two is through a sudden sequence of love scenes that seem disjointed and too artsy for the rest of the film. The scenes almost feel like a last-minute addition to create that connection, because the actors fail to do so.
While other aspects of “Radioactive” struggle and are inaccurate historically, what the film does do well is accurately recount Marie Curie’s life. Another plus for “Radioactive” is that it is a good empowerment film. Marie Curie is an incredible role model as the only female scientist to win two Novel Prizes, in not just one but two separate categories of science, a feat only three other scientists can claim.
Despite bringing attention to a most remarkable woman, “Radioactive” is a rather mechanical film. If you are interested in empowerment films and/or accurate depictions of a person’s life, “Radioactive” is worth the watch. If, however, you are just looking for a gripping, polished film, you might want to look elsewhere.
“Radioactive” is a somewhat-uninspired one hour and 49 minutes in length and is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, brief nudity and a scene of sensuality.
This is Libby Wadman with the Friday Film Review reminding you that film is always fun and fascinating.