TIFF 2017 Review: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is an Arousing and Emotional Origin Story.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women tells the story of Wonder Woman creator William Marston (Luke Evans) and his unconventional relationship with his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and his student assistant Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). William is the inventor of the lie detector and is determined to prove DISC theory to the world. As a way to test his theory and the lie detector, William, Elizabeth, and Olive all take turns using the machine and asking each other personal questions. This leads to the discovery that they all have feelings towards each other.
Determined to keep their relationship intact while continuing to exploring their sexual desires, the trio agrees to live a polyamorous life but one that is kept in secret from the world around them. They move into a home where they are happy as they continue to explore their sexual fantasies. William discovers bondage while browsing at a local adult store. The store owner sells him some photos which he is convinced will help prove DISC theory. He shows these photos to Elizabeth and Olive, who at first label it as pornography but are yet intrigued nonetheless.
This all leads to the creation of the Wonder Woman comic book. William hopes that this comic will entertain young minds but also teach them about female empowerment. The comic becomes a huge hit but the Child Study Association of America steps in due to some of the controversial sexual images in the comic. This begins William’s fight to keep Wonder Woman comic books on the shelves.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is that rare biopic that reels you in and keeps you engaged from start to finish. The film is compelling, emotional, funny, sexy, and educational. It shines a bright light on the life of a man that very few know about and the beautiful and smart women that ultimately help shape his inventions and theories.
I don’t often label a film as arousing or sexy but Professor Marston and The Wonder Women certainly is. I love the fact that film never needed to be explicit in order to be sexy. It relies more heavily on the facial reactions and body language rather than the actual act. It is so funny to me that most Hollywood studios go out of their way to make erotic dramas like 50 Shades of Grey and yet a film like this one is 100 times more effective in doing so.
Angela Robinson‘s film is character driven and relies very heavily on the lead actors committing to the story and pouring their heart and soul into their roles. Evans, Hall, and Heathcoat deliver electrifying performances and some of the best performances of the year. The chemistry between these three actors is some of the best that I’ve seen in quite a long time. You believe every single emotional moment and your heart breaks whenever one of them is in pain.
As someone who believes strongly in monogamous relationships, I found myself completely engrossed in the film’s exploration of a polyamorous lifestyle. I feel like in most films whenever these types of relationships are explored they are always a phase that couples go through or something someone tries once and ends badly. In this film, which is based on fact, they all love one another and it’s more than just sexual attraction. Sure, it has something to do with it, but there are plenty of moments where the trio are just having conversations and they even manage to raise a few children together.
There is a genuine love between William, Elizabeth, and Olive which is present in the film from the first 20 minutes until the very end. I felt like the way that the story presented their polyamorous relationship was done in a very mature manner which allowed me to have an open my mind on the subject. There is a great scene where Elizabeth asks William a bunch of serious questions when testing the lie detector machine. She asks, “Do you love me?” to which he replies “Yes” and the machine shows a positive read. Right after that question, she asks “Do you love Olive?” which he hesitates on answering but the machine shows a positive reading. The reason why this scene and several others like it that occur throughout the film stand out is that it is so incredibly rare that a film honestly depicts what is it like to love two people at the same time and not have it be solely about sex.
Professor Marston and The Wonder Women will forever change the way that you look at Wonder Woman as a comic book character. This is an incredibly emotional story that will inspire both men and women. The performances by Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote are mesmerizing and without question some of the best of the year. William, Olive, and Elizabeth’s stories are all about feminism and fighting for equal rights. The film tackles so many important messages that include female empowerment, being true to ourselves, and being opened minded about the lives of others. I loved this film and strongly believe it will be part of my best of 2017 list come late December. If you have a chance to see Professor Marston and The Wonder Woman, I highly recommend that you do as it is one of my top picks for the must-see film of the year.
Scott ‘Movie Man’ Menzel’s rating for Professor Marston and The Wonder Women is a 9.5 out of 10.