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Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge

Poland/Germany/France 2016. Dir: Marie Noëlle. 100 min. DCP

The courageous, controversy-courting life of trailblazing Polish-French physicist and chemist Marie Curie, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize — and the first person ever to win it twice — is poetically explored in French writer-director Marie Noëlle’s lavishly-shot biopic. Opting to focus more on the intimacies of Madame Curie’s private life than the intricacies of her groundbreaking scientific achievements, Noëlle’s turn-of-the-century melodrama — derived in large part from Curie’s personal diaries — navigates her career mainly through romantic courtships, first with husband and research partner Pierre (Charles Berling of Elle and Summer Hours), then, following Pierre’s tragic death, with a married colleague — a near-ruinous cause célèbre. Polish actress Karolina Gruszka is superb as the fiercely intelligent, emotionally complex Curie, whose tenacity in the face of institutionalized sexism remains inspiring and relevant as ever. In French, German, and Polish with English subtitles.