Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge
Not all historical events of significance are worthy of dramatisation. Indeed, if someone was there and had a vested interest in the outcome, then what transpires might be suitably interesting. Making the scientific exploits of Marie Curie into engaging cinema is problematic, which is why the eye roll-inducingly titled Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge attempts to paint a portrait of Marie the woman, as well as Marie the pioneering scientist. It’s an admirable attempt, and while there are moments of interest, the end result is disappointingly flat, leaving a sense of indifference to the subject herself. This flatness is even more exasperating given the richness of the physicist’s life.
The film achieves a mood of nobility, largely due to the efforts of Karolina Gruszka as Curie. Her Marie alternates between earnestness and stoicism, and it’s a hard role to play. The complexities of her scientific work are internalised, and it’s difficult to make this work on screen. Director Marie Noëlle attempts to enliven proceedings with a number of visual flourishes, namely enigmatic camera angles and the deliberate softening of colours in key sequences. While these touches are undeniably beautiful to look at, they feel as though they were intended for an entirely different movie. The film’s ambitions are lofty, but unfocused.
Though well-meaning, Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge seems almost aware of its own intended worthiness. This creates a challenge of sorts in the audience, posing a question as to whether the characters and events depicted are as profound (and indeed worthy) as they seem to think they are. This is not the case, and it’s as though the feature attempts to inject a sense of passion into events that feel rather dispassionate to an observer. While the film is demonstrably elevated by Karolina Gruszka’s dignified portrayal, Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge manages to make an inspirational life seem rather uninspired indeed.
Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge is released in selected cinemas on 24th November 2017.
Watch the trailer for Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge here: