Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge

100 minutes 2016

New
The title of this French-Polish coproduction promises a generic and stodgy biopic, but it's somewhat better than that. Director Marie Noëlle (who cowrote the script with Andrea Stoll) dutifully relates the facts of Curie's biography, with clunky dialogue summarizing key incidents of her life and career. At the same time, Noëlle's stylistic approach is unpredictable, changing virtually from scene to scene. When she considers Curie's romantic life, the tone is wildly melodramatic; when she presents Curie's work in chemistry, it becomes muted and focused. I preferred the melodrama—there isn't much tension in people discussing the theory of radioactivity. Karolina Gruszka is very good as Curie, conveying a mix of intelligence and romantic impulse; unfortunately no one else in the cast comes close to her level of investment. In French, German, and Polish with subtitles.

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