Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Radioactive Movie Poster Image
Inspiring if frustratingly conventional Marie Curie biopic.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Compassion, perseverance, and teamwork are strong themes. Overcoming societal expectations. Working hard to make the world a better place. Helping others. The importance of a loving and supportive family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marie Curie defies all -- including the prejudice she faces over being both an immigrant and a woman -- to be at the forefront of a monumental scientific discovery that will help battle diseases across the world. She's socially introverted and overcomes confidence issues to find the inner strength needed to succeed. She's compassionate and selfless in her time dedicated to soldiers during the war. Her husband, Pierre, is also inspiring, supporting Marie both professionally and personally. Together they raise an intelligent and independent daughter in Irene, who is also not controlled by the men in her life. Other characters use Marie's discoveries for mass destruction -- something that plays on her conscience.


A key character is crushed by a horse and cart -- though the moment of impact happens out of the shot, blood is seen dripping from the carriage. Characters keel over from radiation poisoning. The aftereffects of an atomic bomb are seen. Scenes set on WWI battlefields show bruised, bloodied soldiers lying in the mud, some without limbs, and with a dead horse in the background. Arguments.


Two characters run naked together toward a lake -- their bare backsides are visible. Kissing. One brief non-explicit sex scene.


A character is aggressively called a "dirty Pole" and a "Jew." The word "whore" is also used.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink wine during a dinner party and celebrate good news with champagne. Background smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Radioactive is a biopic about Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike), who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and ultimately won two Nobel Prizes for her valiant efforts. The depiction of love and a steady, supportive relationship is at the forefront of the movie, with Marie's husband, Pierre (Sam Riley), heavily involved in her discoveries. Overcoming both prejudice over being an immigrant -- she's called a "dirty Pole," among other derogatory terms -- and a woman, Marie is inspiring, displaying great compassion and sacrifice to help others during World War I. Due to the themes of conflict, violence is alluded to throughout, and with the devastating effects of war evident -- limbless soldiers are depicted. A key character is also crushed by a cart and horse, with some blood seen. Marie's discoveries are used by others for destructive gains -- i.e. atomic bombs -- something that plays heavily on her conscience. Some characters are shown suffering and dying from radiation poisoning. There's brief nudity when two characters run naked toward a lake (they're shown from behind), kissing, and one non-explicit sex scene. Characters drink, and some background characters smoke.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byCurlywhirly July 25, 2020

Good Movie but wish I had known...

the sex scene was more involved than the review here said, there was more than one sex scene and not only with her husband, and there was a brief moment of fema... Continue reading
Adult Written byLenakanitz1 January 17, 2021

Terrifyingly cynical & distorted

I watched this with my daughters with hopes for an inspiring science biographic, but this movie seems more like an anti-science propaganda film meant to terrif... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 2, 2020

Kinda depressing, Mature. 14+


There where multiple scenes in which both Marie and Pierre where naked, including a scene of skinny dipping and lying on a blanket, talking, wh... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bykmspo14 March 1, 2021

Fine movie but not PG 13

As a family we are not that strict about what we watch but this movie is definitely not PG 13 as mentioned. There is nudity and sex. It's a mediocre movie.

What's the story?

RADIOACTIVE tells the remarkable and fascinating story of Marie Sklodowska (Rosamund Pike), a Polish academic who moves to Paris, where she marries fellow scientist Pierre Curie (Sam Riley). The duo push each other to succeed, and through diligent hard work and research, they make a life-changing discovery: the theory of radioactivity. While the Curies intend to use their discovery for good, others have far more destructive plans.

Is it any good?

This movie falls for the frustrating reasons that often trip up filmmakers when making biopics -- i.e., not quite knowing where the focus lies. Director Marjane Satrapi has created a film enriched with a sense of compassion, and she must be commended for her authentic depiction of the flawed yet mightily brilliant Marie Curie. Unfortunately, the movie lacks focus. Marie's life was incredible -- her two Nobel Prizes attest to that. But Radioactive covers too much ground, and subsequently it all feels a bit like it's checking off boxes.

It's only when delving into Marie's relationship with Pierre, and the love they share, that the movie comes to life. Luckily, the one consistent is Pike, who's astounding as ever in the lead role. It's just a shame this story, which is so brilliant and so inspiring and timeless, doesn't quite come to grips with the complexities that derive from radioactivity -- how it's been such a constant source of good and bad since its discovery.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the challenges Marie Curie must overcome in Radioactive. She faces prejudice for both being an immigrant and a woman. Do you think she would face the same kind of discrimination today? Were you inspired by Marie Curie? What other women inspire you?

  • Discuss how radioactivity has been used for good and for bad -- for example, the treatment of cancer and the creation of the atom bomb. Does the good outweigh the bad?

  • What other biopics have you enjoyed watching? Are there any particular people you'd like to see their lives made into a movie? If so, who?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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