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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Review - Marie Curie

Marie Noëlle, Germany/France/Poland

The birth of her daughter hardly interrupts Marie's working routine. Together with her husband Pierre Curie, a French physicist, she spends long hours in their makeshift laboratory. The two are totally devoted to each other, sharing a love for science with the same intensity. Their dedicated efforts are rewarded when they receive the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903 for the discovery of radioactivity. Marie Curie is the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize.

Three years later her husband is killed in an accident turning her life upside down. She is devastated, a widow in her 30s with two small girls. With determination she carries on their mutual project, facing tough male competitors in her struggle for recognition. Through stubborn tenancy and tireless work she eventually is appointed the first woman professor at the Sorbonne University.

Her long-time colleague Paul Langevin not only admires her innovative mind but falls in love with this charismatic woman. After years of sorrow she can love again. Unfortunately, Langevin is already married and their relationship is coming to a stormy end when his jealous wife informs the “yellow” press. The scandal erupts just when Marie Curie is about to receive her second Nobel Prize in 1911. She travels to Stockholm together with her teenage daughter Irène. In her speech at the ceremony Marie Curie dedicates her second Nobel Prize to her deceased husband. She is the only person with a Nobel Prize in two different disciplines – physics and chemistry. The film ends with daughter Irène walking directly behind her mother suggesting “walking in her steps” into the future.

French director Marie Noëlle (Ludwig II), who also wrote the script, succeeds in showing the various facets of Marie Curie, the determined scientist, the soft-hearted mother and the passionate lover. Polish actress Karolina Gruszka superbly mastered the challenging role as Marie and is supported by a talented cast from Germany, France and Poland. (BS)

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