MOVIE: PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN
STARRING: LUKE EVANS; REBECCA HALL; BELLA HEATHCOTE
DIRECTED BY: ANGELA ROBINSON
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
There is plenty of room to love Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. The new film from relatively unknown director Angela Robinson, about William Marston, his wife, and the couples mistress, is a well-crafted biopic, that juggles multiple human complexities, and how the three turned their love into the most famous female super hero of all time- Wonder Woman. The concept of polyamory may be something that others can't make work, but the Marston trio did, by making their bond stronger than anyone that would feel inclined to judge them on their unorthodox relationship. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a delightful film with a mature look at what makes a family.
Luke Evans stars as the Harvard Professor William Moulton Marston, who specializes in psychology, and specifically his DISC assessment, which is centered on four behavior traits: dominance, inducement, submission, and compliance. Often viewing his course by the classroom window, is his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), a whip smart woman, saddled with the ridiculous gender politics of 1945, where receiving her PHD is ten times harder for the female sex. Catching the eye of the couple is Olive (Bella Heathcote), a bright faced blonde, who becomes interested enough in Marston's teachings to become his class-assistant. Of course, her attraction is not just to the intellectual side of Mr. Marston, but also of Mrs. Marston too. The three agree they can make their three-way relationship work.
One of the major reasons why Professor Marston and the Wonder Women works well is because writer/director Angela Robinson never treats the subjects less than the mature adults that they are. The situation is obviously an unconventional kind of relationship, but they love one another, and the focus of the film never passes judgement on them. The script is quite witty, with most of the great dialogue delivered by Rebecca Hall. The actor who bursted onto the scene in Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona, has an old-Hollywood beauty, and delivers a performance worthy of an Oscar-nomination. Her sharp rapport with Evans and romantic connection with Heathcote is magnetic. I loved every minute of her performance.
Now, audience members who are hoping for more of the kick-ass Patty Jenkins-Wonder Woman action will obviously be disappointed, but we do learn plenty about the inspiration behind the DC superhero. The film begins with Marston facing the board of decency- led by Connie Britton as the head person in pursuit to curb the comic. It is because of Marston's inspiration from the bedroom and his theories about dominance and submission, that he found an outlet in Diana the leader of the Amazons. We learn that Marston saw it as a way to teach men that women can be powerful, beautiful beings, that deserve respect. There's a great parallel with the message of the comics and Marston's ability to play third fiddle behind his two ladies. Take notes boys, this is how you be a man.
Above all, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is an honest expression of love. The only major problems I had lie in a few on the nose lines (“You look wonderful!” really?) and a bit of repetitive conflict, but the natural pressures from society are quite believable. It's also often funny, with many of the humor coming from Hall's razor sharp performance. Overall, I was pleasantly happy to learn about how the most famous female superhero came to be and see a beautiful tale about how love can conquer all. As the great Lin-Manuel Miranda said, “Love is Love is Love” and in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women proves that love is the strongest super power anyone can have.
Written by: Leo Brady