Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge

However badly titled, this biopic of the brilliant French scientist is quite good.

For a newspaper prosaically named after its city and frequency of publication, we at SF Weekly sure do like to harp on clumsy movie titles. Still, it’s one of the most crucial aspects of a film’s marketing, which brings us to the word salad that is Marie Noelle’s French biopic Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge. The review copy was titled Mania, the childhood nickname of its subject, but you couldn’t release a film called that in 2017 about scientist Marie Curie (Karolina Gruszka). She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and one of the only people of any gender to win it twice, a remarkable achievement in the male-dominated scientific establishment then and now — so Mania would be akin to titling it Hysterical Science Woman.

Storywise, MC: TCOK is mostly underwhelming. The film gets most of its drama from Curie’s romantic life, especially the tabloid scandal that ensued when she filled the absence left by the untimely death of her husband and fellow researcher, Pierre (Charles Berling), with the already-married Paul Langevin (Arieh Worthalter). As is often the case with biopics, certain moments are far more interesting than the whole, such as Curie hanging out with Albert Einstein. Now that would be a fun movie, whatever the title.

Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.

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