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Scientific discovery goes hand in hand with tragedy. Every monumental leap forward in progress is met with an unintended consequence sooner or later; every major innovation comes with a cost, be it personal, professional, or global. But should that unknown cost prevent experimentation and innovation in the name of betterment? And how does one measure the benefit of a scientific discovery versus a cost that may only become known over time?
These are heady questions with no easy answers, but they’re ones that renowned scientist Marie Curie had to wrestle with time and again throughout her life, as chronicled in the new film Radioactive. While the story treads familiar territory to anyone who’s seen a biopic about a famous Great Man, director Marjane Satrapi elegantly considers the cost at the heart of Curie’s discoveries, and Rosamund Pike delivers a truly stirring performance as the scientist behind the pioneering field of radioactivity, and the valiant woman behind so many “firsts” for female professionals.
Bit - Film - Curie - Hospital - Deathbed
To be honest, Radioactive starts a bit rough. The film opens with Curie being rushed to the hospital, seemingly on her deathbed, as her life flashes before her eyes. It points towards the tedious, boring, by-the-numbers biopic that Radioactive flirts with here and there, but thankfully never fully embraces. Once the film gets into its groove and Pike gets a chance to shine, Curie’s story finds its footing in the scientist’s dedication to her work.
Radioactive covers all the major bases of Curie’s life, from her struggle to find funding and respect as a female scientist to her partnership with scientist Pierre Curie (Sam Riley), who she would later marry. Combining their knowledge and research, the Curies discovered two new elements—radium and polonium—and developed the theory of radioactivity, which completely changed the way scientists thought about the atom. They won a...
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