Biography Drama

For the Love of Science: A TIFF Review of ‘Radioactive’

September 15, 2019Ben MK

Of all the scientific discoveries that have altered the course of human history, arguably none have been as impactful as radiation. Not only does it play a role in improving our day-to-day lives, it also has the power to negatively impact our lives — and, for better or worse, none of it would be possible without the efforts of one woman.

Born Marie Sklodowska, Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike) was a Polish scientist who immigrated to Paris when she met her future husband, a fellow scientist named Pierre (Sam Riley). It's not long, however, before the pair are sharing a laboratory space — and soon, their lives — as their professional and personal collaboration leads to the discovery of two new elements, Pollonium and Boron. Charting Marie Curie's life from 1893 to 1934, director Marjane Satrapi's biopic also touches on the couple's family life, as their daughter Irene (Anya Taylor-Joy) eventually grows up to pursue a similar interest in science.

There are a handful of scenes depicting future events such as the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 and the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, but otherwise Radioactive is indistinguishable from your prototypical historical drama — well-made, well-acted, but straightforward to a fault.

Radioactive makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 43 min.

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