RADIOACTIVE*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Alex
Paris 1934 – an elderly Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike) collapses and is rushed to the hospital. She begins having flashes of her life, particularly running into and meeting Pierre Curie (Sam Riley) on the street in 1893. In 1893, Marie (then with her maiden name Sklodowska) confronts Professor Lippman (Simon Russell Beale) about him not respecting her scientific experiments and messing with her equipment. Marie makes demands of him, but he clearly has no respect for her and fires her, even though Marie has no money to continue her research on her own. Marie goes home and tells her sister Bronia, who tells her to try apologizing to him, but she refuses.
Marie is turned away from many institutions. Marie meets Pierre again, and it turns out he knows who she is. He also works at the university and has read some of her work and admires it. He offers her some of his space to use, and though at first, she declines, she later accepts after accidentally lighting a fire in the space she’s using at home.
Marie conducts her experiments, where she finds that uranium has less radiation than its ore – she believes she has found an undiscovered element. Pierre thinks he has a piece of equipment that will help her more accurately measure her findings, but when he takes her to the hospital it is located at, she refuses to go in, saying she never goes into hospitals. Marie flashes back to her young childhood, to her mother who was gravely ill and died when she was young. Pierre knows that Marie’s science is good but her equipment isn’t good enough, and so he brings her a quadrant electrometer he built to measure electrical potential. He proposes a partnership with Marie.
At dinner with their friend Paul Langevin and his wife, Pierre explains in detail the process of how they take the ore and use science to remove all the elements they know. Marie explains that scientists have found uranium to have reactions – she believes that uranium has a powerful force in it, and that the reaction comes from the element itself. Afterward, Pierre admits his attraction to Marie. Though at first, she isn’t sure, not wanting anything to get in the way of their work, he proposes to her, and she accepts. They get married soon after.
Pierre surprises Marie after their honeymoon with a brand new research space where they work along with Paul. They continue researching for four years, and eventually have a baby girl, Irene. Eventually, they discover two new elements – polonium and radium. They present their shocking works to the science community, and Marie explains that she calls the waves coming off of the element “radioactivity”. The news makes the papers, a groundbreaking discovery.
Pierre becomes a professor, and Marie becomes pregnant with their second child. Scientists all over begin doing their own experiments with radioactivity. People all over begin making radioactive products, and Pierre even hears that radium is being used to fight cancer. Pierre tells Marie he can feel their work changing the world. A flash-forward to Cleveland, 1957, shows a doctor using radioactive technology to treat a child with cancer.
Pierre becomes fascinated with a woman using radioactivity to channel spirits. Pierre is entertained, but Marie is annoyed with him, believing only in science. Meanwhile, Pierre seems to be getting sicker and sicker. Marie gives birth to their second daughter, Eve. Pierre comes to Marie and tells her their discovery of radioactivity has been nominated for a Nobel Prize – but only under his name. He told them that if there is a Nobel prize to be won, he will only with it with Marie’s name as well.
In Stockholm in 1903, Pierre accepts the Nobel prize, with Marie stay in France having just given birth. During his speech, he notes radium could be dangerous in the wrong hands, and wonders if mankind is ready A flash-forward shows the pilots on the Enola Gay dropping the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Pierre says he believes mankind will get more harm than good from the discoveries. When he gets home, Marie is angry that his speech seemed to take credit for her work, and even slaps him. He tells her how much he wishes she could have been there.
Pierre is walking home one night, and sick, stumbles out onto the street where he is run over by a horse and cart and killed. Marie is devastated and plagued with nightmares. Professor Lippman calls her in to interview her to take Pierre’s position as professor. She says she doesn’t want the job but will take it, and refuses to be hired for anything other than her work. She also will not interview, and says her science should speak for itself. Marie is given the job, and becomes the first female professor at the sorbonne.
Paul tries to console Marie about everything, but she won’t hear of it. Zoe presents to her class to applause, as flash-forwards to Nevada 1971 show the atomic bomb being tested in the desert. Marie realizes that radium appears to make some people sick, including herself with anemia. She confesses to Paul she fears that it might have weakened Pierre and led to his death. Paul consoles her, and the two begin an affair. Her daughters find her asleep with Pierre, but she shoos them away. Women in society begin to stare at Marie with disdain.
Paul informs Marie that scientists have confirmed radiation exposure can lead to severe illness. Paul’s wife confronts Marie, slaps her in the face and insults her, calling her “a dirty pole” who invented a poison. Paul overhears but does not intervene, hoping to not make it worse. The wife then leaks the stories to the paper, creating even more scandal. Marie is the subject of harassment and derision. Paul agrees to leave Marie in order to get his wife to back off and breaks the news to Marie. Marie goes to the “mystical” practitioner to find that she’s died – but she begs her assistant to make Pierre appear.
A flashfoward shows the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in 1986. Bronia tells Marie she’s moving back to England, and asks her to move back with her to avoid all the harassment and angry crowds that wait outside her house shouting at her. Marie says the work is too important and she will stay. Later, Marie receives notice that she has been awarded the Nobel prize a second time, but they suggest she doesn’t attend to avoid controversy. She ignores that and attends anyway, where she is told the women’s movement in Stockholm supports her greatly. The crowd is initially cold to her, but the women stand and applaud which causes the room to join in.
Much later, an adult Irene (Anya Taylor-Joy) takes Marie to a hospital insisting she help with the war effort. Marie refuses to enter, so Irene has the patients wheeled outside. Irene begs her to help with the war. Marie goes to Professor Lippman to argue for mobile x-ray units to help treat and diagnose soldiers before they need amputations. Irene brings a young man named Frederic home that she is dating and doing research with, and Irene asks about their research – they believe they have found the next step in radiation.
Marie warms to Frederic, though she is still very sick and coughing up blood. She tells Irene she has agreed to help with the war by giving them equipment but not going on the field, and she doesn’t want her to either. She also tells Irene she shouldn’t see Trevor anymore and stop her research since radiation is dangerous. Marie and Irene go to Alexandre Millerand, minister of war, to lobby for the x-ray machines that will save lives. He and Professor Lippman says they can’t afford it, so Marie offers to melt down her gold Nobel prizes. He still balks, so Marie says she will go to the press. He eventually relents.
Marie and Irene take the x-rays out to the battlefield, and Irene admits she is still seeing and working with Frederic. Marie and Irene work on the soldiers, though Marie is horrified by the war and destruction. In the hospital, Marie sees visions of all the times in her life, interspersed with the 1934 Marie being wheeled in the hospital, interspersed with all the future flash-forwards. The elderly Marie in 1934 sees Pierre and tells him she hates hospitals. He walks her through the hospital, and he praises her and tells her she changed the world. They share a kiss.
Post-script says that when Marie died she was buried next to Pierre. Irene and Frederic got married and won the Nobel prize for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. During World War One, more than a million men were x-rayed, and the Curie discoveries have led to some of the most effective cancer treatments to this day.
The biopic of Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike) shows how as young scientist Maria Sklodowska she met Pierre Curie (Sam Riley). The two teamed up with Pierre's technology to help support Maire's research. They fall in love, get married, and discover radioactivity, changing the world and winning them the Nobel prize.
The radiation makes Pierre sick, and he is killed in a horse and cart accident. Marie is devastated and begins an affair with fellow researcher Paul. His wife finds out and leaks the story to the press, and Marie becomes a pariah in society. Even still, she wins a second Nobel prize for her work and becomes the first female professor at the Sorbonne.
Later on, her daughter Irene (Anya Taylor-Joy) has also become a scientist. Together, they develop and implement a mobile x-ray to save lives during World War One. Marie's discoveries led to major events in history, like Hiroshima, the atom bomb, and is one of the most effective methods of treating cancer to this day.