Coming exclusively to Amazon Prime Video from director Marjane Satrapi and Amazon Studios is the amazing biographical story of a woman who made the world RADIOACTIVE.
Maria Sklodowska (Rosamund Pike) is a young woman who has the greatest interest in science but gets no respect from her male counterparts. It is 1870s Paris, and Maria is an Polish immigrant, physicist and chemist woman who doesn’t quite fit in with her male counterparts as the University of Paris.
On a walk with her nose in a book she meets Pierre Curie (Sam Riley) and makes quite the impression on him. Her concerns aren’t to find romance, but to fight with other professors about losing her lab as they don’t feel her work has merit. They meet again when Pierre Curie wants to share laboratory space with Maria because he knows about her work.
Along with friend Paul Langevin (Aneurin Barnard), the wood begins and so does a marriage between Pierre and Maria. Her work is the study of uranium rays and it is Pierre’s invention of an electrometer that gives Marie the boost she needs to created a new theory about the study of the atom.
Her work, and then joined by husband Pierre, would bring about the elements of Polonium and Radium creating the word Radioactivity. In 1903, Marie along with Pierre and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. They couple used the money to fund more research and their life was about to change in ways she could never anticipated.
Marriage, children, life, death, rumors, treatment of women during the era, the unrecognized work of women not just in everyday life but women of science that contributed so much to the world – Madam Curie was one such woman.
Pike as Marie is a perfect choice to play this role. She has the amazing ability to bring about an intensity that isn’t over the top but definetly in-your-face. I enjoyed her portrayal with a such loyalty to her work, her family and refused to change anything in order to satisfy the status quo. The only people that seem to understand that about her was Pierre, her sister and Langevin and the latter brought difficulties. Pike stands strong, tall and even when her character crashes, it is only temporary toward her goal – the search for scientific knowledge.
Riley as Currie is a man who saw something almost immediately about Maria. Discovering a kindred spirit in so many ways it is easy to see why Currie fell for Maria. Riley has a proven track record of diversity in his role choice from MALEFICENT, and the awesome Mr. Darcy in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, a son trying to find a deep connect with a father in SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER to the stunning role in RADIOACTIVE. This role gives Riley the chance to be the stable force for Maria and he does so with love and compassion – beautifully done.
Barnard as Langevin is the friend who sees the potential of Pierre and Maria. As their discovery takes on more and more time, Langevin never hesitates to support the lab and the work. Barnard then finds himself in a place that causes distress and that’s when Maria must take control once again.
Other cast include Yvette Feuer as Carla, Simon Russell Beale as Professor Lippmann, Sian Brooke as Bronia Sklodowska, Drew Jacoby as Loie Fuller, and Katherine Parkinson as Jeanne Langevin.
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In Currie’s search for scientific knowledge she had to bang up against men who didn’t believe in her science and a society that could easily be judgmental and harsh. Yet she kept on as the film shows the good and the bad of her scientific discoveries. That is the downside of finding new things in our world, there is always someone that can find a poor use for it.
RADIOACTIVE is a period piece and that adds to much richness to the film. From the darkness of the labs and the flickering lights of the Currie home, this is the way you slowly bring a viewer into a story and director Satrapi does so brilliantly.
Amazon Studios has been bringing some amazing choices in entertainment and with so many of us hungry for an escape, experiencing the story of a woman who is part of our history is an excellent way to do that. RADIOACTIVE is a must-see in such a way that I can’t wait to see it again. Pike and Riley brings us the best and brightest to a story that needed to be told.
In the end – she was a pioneer, a genius and a rebel!