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Posts Tagged ‘Karolina Gruszka’

Karolina Gruszka

“MARIE CURIE: THE COURAGE OF KNOWLEDGE” My rating: B (Opens Sept. 8 at the Tivoli)

100 minutes | No MPAA rating

Well, this certainly isn’t your Greer Garson version of physicist Marie Curie.

Marie Noelle’s film is about the trials the brilliant Curie endured because she was a woman in a man’s world; it’s also about the  affair with a married co-worker that nearly scuttled her chances for a second Nobel Prize and admission to the French Academy of Science.

This combination of feminism and heavy breathing could have been a recipe for diaster.  But Noelle and co-writer Andrea Stoll keep all the parts in narrative and emotional balance, with the result that “Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge” feels low-keyed and classy even when its leading lady is lounging about in the altogether.

The film begins with the idyllic marriage of Marie (Karolina Gruszka) and Pierre Curie (Charles Berling), partners both in life and in the lab. They’re raising a large family, experimenting with radium as an anti-cancer therapy, and sharing a Nobel Prize for science. In just a few quick, impressionistic scenes director Noelle depicts their blissful, fulfilling lives.

Then Pierre is killed in a street accident, and Marie is left to continue her work alone.  Well, not exactly alone.

Her colleague Paul Langevin (Arieh Worthalter)  provides intellectual and, to a degree, moral support as Marie comes to terms with Pierre’s death. Eventually the attraction gets physical.

Paul has a rather common wife who wants him to give up pure science for a well-paying job in industry. Eventually the wronged spouse steals love letters between her husband and Marie and launches a very public scandal. Marie’s sexual transgression only proves to the stick-in-the-muds of academia and science that a woman has no business in their calling. (That plenty of male scientists keep a mistress without anyone raising an eyebrow is just one more example of the double standard at work.)

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