Now here’s a story that you probably haven’t heard of. At least I haven’t. Everyone is still on the Wonder Woman train so why not?
Synopsis: The story of psychologist William Moulton Marston, the polyamorous relationship between his wife and his mistress, the creation of his beloved comic book character Wonder Woman, and the controversy the comic generated. (IMDB)
Starring: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote
Writer: Angela Robinson
Director: Angela Robinson
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 108mins
For showtimes and more, check out Professor Marston & The Wonder Women on movietimes.com.
How fitting that this film be released merely months after the release of Wonder Woman. Those riding the Wonder Woman wave will surely be seeing this but this might create some unfair expectations (at least in my mind). This story moves very slowly as it focused on a psychology professor named William Moulton Marston (Evans) and his academic wife Elizabeth (Hall) along with their teaching assistant named Olivia Byrne (Heathcote).
Both William and Elizabeth had an unorthodox relationship in that she allowed him to be with other women as long as they were all happy. This led to the both of them having similar feelings for Byrne. This also left Byrne conflicted as she had a life of her own and had to battle the life she thought she was going to have with her feelings for the Marstons and the life she could have with them. Byrne eventually succumb to these feelings and she and the couple began a polyamorous relationship together.
Even though they were together, they still weren’t sure what they really wanted. They all had inner conflicts as they explored their own sexuality together and that’s what they did in very taboo ways through various bondage and other BDSM. This type of relationship was unusual for the time period as it was frowned upon so they tried to keep it hidden but they could only do it for so long as jealousy and social pressures got in the way. Despite that, their relationship was important as it along with his “DISC” theory that served as inspiration for his creation of Wonder Woman. It still took awhile before the story got there and it almost felt like a rushed afterthought once it did.
Using a common biopic storytelling device, William tells the story while being questioned about the lack of decency and the oversexualiazation of his work by Josette Frank (Connie Britton) of the Child Study Association of America. This was fine but it didn’t add anything to the story but as it often does, it didn’t provide much insight by merely repeating the obvious and took away momentum from the story.
Evans was great and charming as William Marston but the women of the film were definitely the wonder women here. Both Elizabeth and Olivia were strong female characters and Hall and Heathcote did a great job with both characters. Hall will be the most memorable of the three as she gives a dynamic performance of an intelligent and strong-willed woman with some funny one-liners. Heathcote was the picture of beauty, vulnerability, and innocence. The three had chemistry which helped to alleviate to slow story albeit slighly
Overall, this was a good biopic that doesn’t stray too far from the formula with a slow story that is slightly alleviated by the performances of the three leads and their chemistry.