Christian Living


Radioactive: Movie Review

Radioactive movie
Star Rating

Movie Info


(for thematic elements, disturbing images, brief nudity and a scene of sensuality)




July 24, 2020


Rosamund Pike, Sam Reilly, Anya Taylor-Joy, Yvette Feuer, Katherine Parkinson, Aneurin Barnard


Marjane Satrapi


Amazon Studios

More on this movie at IMDb.com

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Kimberly Carr - Digital Media Producer

From the Studio

Pioneer - Rebel - Genius. Radioactive is incredible, true story of Marie Curie and her Nobel Prize-winning work that changed the world starring Rosamund Pike and Sam Riley.

First and Lasting Impressions

The opening scenes of Radioactive thrust viewers into the challenges facing a female scientist among the sexist upper echelons of the academic community in 1893 Paris. But, the story soon sets a languid and steady pace which barely picks up speed.

During their work with what would later be named radium and polonium, Marie and her husband/research partner Pierre both famously suffered from radiation poisoning. Watching Marie fiddle with a vial of radium in several scenes is foreboding, knowing the cost of such proximity with the element. After an accident permanently alters their lives, Marie is compelled to continue in their work. The use of other-worldly images of light, dance, and chaos to demonstrate Madame Curie’s grief is impactful and jarring as it presents a visual antithesis to the almost somber pace of the film.

One of the most interesting elements of the film is the demonstration of the novelty and excitement of radium’s discovery using real examples of commercial items produced for consumers. It further uses scenes from the atomic future (Hiroshima, Chernobyl) juxtaposed with the present drama of Marie’s life as she performs the research which guarantees that future.

The film does not shy away from the adultery scandal that followed Marie later in life, even as it overshadowed her second Nobel Prize win. It offers interesting tidbits about her of which I was unaware, but it took dedicated attention on my part to remain invested in the story. The film ambitiously covers decades of Marie Curie’s life. Packed to the brim with factual events, little time is left for the actors to fully engage with their own characters. The portrayal of Marie by Rosamund Pike did not invite sympathy, but rather curiosity. My natural interest in history was enough to keep me until the film’s somewhat hopeful ending, but I felt a lack of personal connection with Marie. Unfortunately, the film did not successfully weave scientific achievement with personal story, and so my attention was torn between the two, shifting emotional gears with each new scene.

Those who enjoy history, science, or a combination of the two may find great value in the film. The visual history brings new energy to Marie Curie’s trailblazing life and contributions to science.

Know Before You Go (Stream)

At about 22 minutes, the newlywed Curies are seen jumping naked into a lake and then lounging on the bank. The camera movement is quick, but upper front and lower back nudity of both people are visible. Later in the film there is a sex scene between the married Curies with close-ups of bare skin. There is also a séance, which was a popular entertainment of the Victorian era.

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