At the Movies

in Culture Insight

Paul Anderson is an Arts broadcaster, radio presenter, producer and journalist. He’s known for work on BBC 6 Music, Xfm, Capital as well as hosting his own one-hour film show ‘At The Movies’ on Smooth Radio.Paul is also a member of the London Film Critic’s Circle.Follow him on Twitter @afilmguy.


A film about Marie Curie feels somewhat overdue given how important to our modern life she is. For the most part, Radioactive is a conventional biopic. The film covers about forty years from Marie’s early days struggling to get noticed as a scientist and being thrown out of her lab space by boring boffins in white coats at the Sorbonne, to being married to Pierre Curie played by Sam Riley. Then we get the years in the sun when she is rightly recognised as one of the leading scientists of her age and the inevitable decline. 

The discovery of radium is ridiculously exciting, like playing River Deep Mountain High for the first time, and the possibilities are endless. However this is radiation and, you know, that’s dangerous so by the time we get to see Marie’s daughter Irene played by Anya Taylor Joy, who is just everywhere just now, excited to want to try X-Rays on soldiers from the first world war we all know that this stuff is a killer. 

There is a lovely cutting in of 20th century moments which adds to the documentary feel to the film; and we get both sides of the sword with the early treatment of tumours to the bombing of Hiroshima and the Chernobyl disaster.

Rosamund Pike – as you might expect – brings a fiercely intelligent performance of a fiercely intelligent woman. There is a certain stiffness throughout until the moment her husband Pierre dies, and her passion is revealed. She is a passionate woman for her science and her life and to an extent lived a personal life without shame when more was expected of women in the era. However, thankfully, by the end of her life Marie’s achievements overshadow whatever scandal society decided she was embroiled in. A bit long but a fascinating insight and history lesson on one of the most important figures, let alone women, of the modern age.      

MY SPY: 12a

JJ played by Dave Bautista, was a member of the Special Forces and he was pretty good at it. Unfortunately, when it comes to being a spy for the CIA he’s rubbish. After his last disaster of a mission, he is teamed up with a super smart teccy in Bobbi played by Kristen Schaal to embark on a surveillance job. 

The niece of the guy they are watching is Sophie played by Chloe Coleman a nine-year-old obsessed with French who turns out she could be useful to the spies after all.

JJ is desperate not to be humiliated again so he agrees to be a kind of babysitter to Sophie, taking her ice-skating and going to parents and special friends days at school. Having honed his comedic skills in the Guardians of the Galaxy films Bautista shows his physical and verbal comic moves here.

The action isn’t sophisticated, and the soundtrack and dance moves may make you squirm but there is still plenty to make you chuckle, especially the interaction between Bautista and Schaal. 

Coleman is a real find and for one so young a charismatic lead who we should keep an eye on. It’s a super thin plot with some uneven performances but in a world of chaos a decent distraction at just over an hour and a half.

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