Marie Curie [Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge] (2016)

Marie Curie
Director: Marie Noelle
Writer: Marie Noelle, Andrea Stoll
Cast: Karolina Gruszka, Arieh Worthalter, Charles Berling, Izabela Kuna, Malik Zidi, André Wilms, Daniel Olbrychski, Marie Denarnaud, Samuel Finzi, Piotr Glowacki, Jan Frycz, Sabin Tambrea
Seen on: 14.12.2016

Plot:
Marie Curie (Karolina Gruszka) is a researcher who is working on isolating radium together with her husband Pierre (Charles Berling). Things are going pretty well until Pierre dies in an accident. Suddenly Marie – who keeps working despite her grief – has to defend herself and her capability to do the job, with people around her doubting that she would be able to do anything without Pierre. With researcher Paul Langevin (Arieh Worthalter) at her side, she persists regardless. Even when their very relationship becomes cause to doubt Curie’s morality.

Marie Curie is an interesting take on an interesting woman. It does have a couple of lengths and I would have appreciated it if it hadn’t focused almost entirely on her relationships with men, but I definitely enjoyed it.

The world of science is as sexist as the rest of the world (unfortunately), so that Marie Curie would struggle with it, especially after her husband’s death, comes as no surprise. But Noelle does a good job to show the sheer density of the blowback Curie received. There was nothing that wasn’t doubted about her and her work despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Fortunately for women and scientists everywhere, Curie wasn’t easily deterred and stuck to her guns, which couldn’t have been easy. She wasn’t infallible – and the film touches on that as well – but she was committed and really good at what she did.

The film is excellently done, with great looking sets, a beautiful soundtrack and a fantastic cast. For me a particular standout, though, was the cinematography that often works with slightly blurry images, as if they were trying to pack radiation into the frames.

My one major complaint is that the film focused so much on Curie’s relationships with men, therefore slightly counteracting the feminist ideas behind it by making her apparently dependent on the men around her, particularly those she sleeps with. Didn’t she have any female friends? Where were those relationships?

But other than that, I liked the film, even if I didn’t love it. And we can stand a few more biopics about fascinating women.

Summarizing: Good, but not great.

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