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film review

Rosamund Pike stars as Marie Curie in Amazon Prime Video's Radioactive.Courtesy of TIFF

  • Radioactive
  • Directed by Marjane Satrapi
  • Written by Jack Thorne
  • Starring Rosamund Pike and Sam Riley
  • Classification PG; 109 minutes

Rating:

2 out of 4 stars

The threats of Hiroshima and Chernobyl should hover over the audience’s shoulder in any biography of Marie Curie, the pioneering female scientist who discovered radiation – and died from its effects. In Marjane Satrapi’s heavy-handed biopic, those events are dancing out in front of us, literally dramatized with varying degrees of horror. The problem is not so much Satrapi’s theatrical approach to the subject, which veers wildly from the overwrought to the dramatically compelling, as it is Jack Thorne’s abysmal script, full of clunky exposition about isolating elements, curing cancer and refusing sexism. (His source is a graphic novel by Lauren Redniss; he would need to depart from it more if Radioactive were to succeed as cinema, although Satrapi’s occasional touch of animation is smart and delicate.)

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As Marie (Rosamund Pike, doing her damndest to turn Curie into a heroine rather than a lecture) and her husband and collaborator Pierre (a blandly sympathetic Sam Riley) declare their love and their science, the viewer may decide she would rather read a comic book.

Radioactive is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video starting July 24

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