Coming from directors Lydia Dean Pilcher, Ginny Mohler and Juno Films is a story that has finally had an opportunity to be told about the RADIUM GIRLS.
Living in New Jersey in the 20’s, Josephine (Abby Quinn) and Bessie (Joey King) are sisters who work at the American Radium factory painting faces on clocks. Bessie was hired when their older sister passed as the family needed the money to survive. Using radium on the clock faces, the technique used had the brushes going into the mouths of all the women working.
Day after day the girls would come in and do their job, but Bessie wants more in her life – like a little fun and excitement. Josephine, being the responsible one, did her best to keep the younger sister from trouble. Yet, slowly, Josephine has begun to feel tired and Bessie has noticed. Convincing her to see Dr. Flint (Neal Huff), Josephine is told that she is fine and then told she has syphilis.
Bessie decides she is going to try and find out for herself what is wrong with Josephine and to her horror is told that the radium used at the clock factory is the culprit. Not getting any help from the company, she starts to look elsewhere when Josephine is in dire condition. Finding Wiley (Cara Seymour), a lawsuit is filed giving those affected the chance to prove that the clock manufacturer is responsible for sickness and death.
It will take time and courage for the truth to be revealed!
Quinn as Josephine is a diligent sister who wants the family to stay together at all costs. With the death of their older sister, she feels even more responsible to keep the money coming in by getting Bessie a job at the same factory. Slowly feeling that something is wrong, she tries to cover it up until it cannot be covered any longer.
King as sister Bessie is a ‘wild child’ for her time wanting more than just spending time painting faces on a clock. Pushing the limits of what is acceptable for a young lady of the day, all of that comes to a halt when her anger turns toward the doctor who is not helping her sister. King has the ability to show anger in a unique and sometimes scary way. In this film she gets the chance to use that anger for something greater than herself.
Seymour as Wiley immediately knows what is wrong with Josephine and is dedicated to helping Bessie. It takes some thought and courage because women of the time did not question men, Seymour offers up a strong shoulder to make what needs to happen, actually happen.
Other cast include: Scott Shepherd as Mr. Leech, Susan Heyward as Etta, Neal Huff as Dr. Flint, Collin Sordelet as Walt, John Lloyd as Arthur Roeder, Joe Grifasi as Nonno, Brandon Gill as Thomas, Olivia Macklin as Paula, Colby Minifie as Doris, Greg Hildreth as Henry Berry and Veanne Cox as Dr. Katherine Drinker.
Juno Films is a boutique film distributor as founder Elizabeth Sheldon brings over 20 years of experience in documentary and feature films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.junofilms.com
RADIUM GIRLS is the story of hundreds of women who worked in factories during World War I. Using radium in the painted dials, this case would be one that change laws. The hideousness of girls lives, and reputations being ruined by company doctors using the excuse that the girls has syphilis to cover up their crime is maddening.
Marie Curie knew a thing or two about radium and what it can do to the body. It is unfortunate the women did not know about her but I am going to bet dollars to ducats that the men did. Even more frightening is realizing that people were told that radium was good for them finding it in water, cosmetics and toothpaste.
I was particularly moved by the film so much so that I started researching the subject myself and was horrified by what I found. That is what a film like RADIUM GIRLS does for the general public, make themselves aware of the history to make sure it never, ever happens again.
RADIUM GIRLS is a lesson and a story that deserves its place on the screen.
In the end – the fight was for them all!