Radioactive - film about Marie Curie on Amazon Prime

Just watched film Radioactive on Amazon Prime last night. Promoted as a biographical film of Mari Curie.

While it has some redeeming moments I was left with a feeling of “meh” at the end. Which by the following morning had turned to deep disappointment.

It does show highlights from her time discovering radium and onwards, including her winning the Noble Prize not just once but twice and her work with ambulances and portable x-ray machines during WWI. It shows a strong female scientist and mentions some of the obstacles she dealt with.

It doesn’t sugar-coat the heroine. She wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with and as portrayed her she’s a human being with flaws and not a Mary Sue.

It touches on the ambivalence of radiation and radioactivity, with a nice simile with the use of high explosives in both industry for positive purposes and negatively for destruction BUT this rapidly becomes overdone in the film (see next section)

It’s very unfocused at times, occasionally deviating into images that only loosely connect with the story.

Too much exposition at times when the story could be better served by showing, not telling.

Cardboard characters: as an example Professor Lippman as stand-in for all the sexist obstructionists in her life. His only purpose in this movie is to act as a foil for Curie.

At times even the main character - Marie Curie - becomes an exposition spouting cardboard cut-out of herself.

Bizarre time-skips into the future, mostly showing the downside of radiation and radioactivity. It’s distracting and would be better summed up at the end, after her death. Why are we getting vignettes about Hiroshims and Chernobyl in a biopic about Marie Curie? Sure, she made those possible but they occurred after her death.

I really wish they had not glossed over the toll radiation took on the early researchers. It was all shown as a “cough” (granted, bloody at times) but so vague as to be an unspecified illness when in reality early researchers were having to have fingers and even arms amputated due to tissue destruction. There were faint allusions to her failing vision (believed to be due to radiation-induced cataracts) and anemia but again, it was more exposition than anything else.

Most Damning of All:
Whoever wrote this played fast and loose with the facts.

I have a real problem with that. Her life was remarkable, and if this is supposed to be a biography it should be truthful. I am not familiar with the graphic novel this movie is supposedly based on so I can’t say how closely the movie adheres to it, or how the novel adheres to actual history.

Overall, a disappointment. I do not recommend it, and if you do watch it, please look up the actual history.

I watched about 30 minutes of this a few nights ago. I turned it off to go sleepy time. Doesn’t sound like I need to finish it. Don’t like biopics that play with the facts/history.

My reaction was also meh, although I thought the lead actress was very good in the role.

I think the lead actress did a fabulous job with a flawed script and production. I have no fault with the actors, I do have an issue with the script and some of the decisions made by the people responsible for the visual appearance of the film.

I’ll be more blunt. In my FB post about it the day after watching it, I said

“If you would like to watch a really interesting movie about Marie Curie and the many discoveries she made and the discrimination and misogyny she faced then… don’t watch ‘Radioactive’ on Amazon Prime. I would have to work hard to make a movie that was less interesting than that one.”

This was a show that could have been inspirational and full of learning opportunities, instead it really glossed over most of the science involved, disconnected you from the tragedy if all of the loss, and really wasted an opportunity to study and present a truly remarkable woman. What she deserved was the Alexander Hamilton treatment (well-written and inspiring show…music and dancing optional) but what she got was … I don’t even know how to describe the disappointment.

Rosamund Pike was a draw for me, she seems perfect for that role. But then I saw it got bad reviews and didn’t bother. It sounds like it might just about have enough redeeming features to be worth a watch after all, provided my expectations are not too high.


The period look is very well done. There are some facts mixed in with the nonsense. At times it is a visually beautiful movie.

It just doesn’t have a firm grasp of actual history, there are weird time jumps, and a bad script.

Your choice as to whether or not you want to spend the time looking for the gold amid the dross.