Radioactive is a biopic drama about Madame Skłodowska Curie. The film begins in 1895 when she meets her future husband, Pierre Curie, and ends in 1934. Radioactive takes a broad sweep at almost every significant event in Madame Curie’s adult life. It shows some of the science where she discovers two new elements (radium & polonium), coins the term radioactivity, receives two Nobel Prizes, and gives birth and raises two girls. Radioactive also shows the racism in France directed at her. Then the film jumps around in time to remind us of the good uses of radioactivity and the horrors.
This movie shows all the amazing things accomplished by Madame Curie’s – which are significant – but the film is about as exciting as reading the Wikipedia page about her; there you might learn a little more, and it may be more accurate. Radioactive does try to make it more exciting by inserting a little PG-13 nudity, sex, and even a séance. However, every scene is flat and not fulfilling—scenes build to a climax, only to sputter and end.
Rosamund Pike (Hostiles), as Madame Curie, does excellent work becoming the fast-talking and a bit socially awkward scientist. Ms. Pike’s best scenes are when she is standing up to the ancient white men controlling the science money and fighting for her rights. But even in those scenes, you are not in awe of her truly great abilities, there is no great dramatic scene, and she never seems to win.
The cinematography does work and transports you back to the early 1900s in France. Now I’m getting desperate for something good to say. I refuse to comment on the costumes. But I am sure a lot of energy went into making the outfits look accurate.
The other actors, even the children, do not overshadow Rosamund Pike, she is the star of Radioactive.
The support acting is good throughout, but the only thing that jumps out at me while reviewing the actors for comments is the oldest daughter’s real name is Indica – Indica Watson. To me, Indica always meant the strain of weed that keeps you on the couch. However, Indica Watson’s name is from the counterculture art gallery, Indica Gallery, in London, famous for a certain couple meeting there. A little value-added information.
Overall, Radioactivity, a biopic drama, is excellent if you wish to spend almost two hours learning about Madame Curie. The film would also be useful to impress science upon middle-school-age children. Although the minor nudity and sex scenes might interfere with the message.