TIFF 2017 Review: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is easily the best film I’ve seen at TIFF. The film gives us a look at the man and women behind Wonder Woman. Professor William Marston (Luke Evans) a psychology professor and his equally brilliant wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) are working at Radcliffe College trying to perfect their lie detector invention. They decide to take on a teaching assistant and find Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). As time progresses, their relationship becomes less professional and more about the unconventional love between the three of them. This relationship inspires Professor Marston to use his psychology background and the story of these beautiful, brilliant and strong women to create Wonder Woman.
With such an unconventional topic, it would be easy for the film to become over sexualized and exploitative, but it doesn’t. The film presents the relationship with a purity and finesse with which filmmakers would treat any other nonconventional relationship. It is presented beautifully, solidifying their relationship as one of love and not just some spectacle.
Luke Evans is working his way into my heart, and this role is the cherry on top. He is intellectual, emotionally charged, and all around endearing as Professor Marston. Rebecca Hall is equally as impressive as Elizabeth. She plays the sharp and intelligent woman with ease. She is both strong and sexy with her determination and wit. Bella Heathcote rounds out the cast as the younger and more gentle of the three, but certainly not weak. All together, they create this spectacular dynamic for their relationship.
The storytelling is crisp and moves seamlessly between time periods. Professor Marston is facing questioning on the decency and over sexualized themes in his comic book creation, Wonder Woman. As he goes through the examination, we see the parts of his life that inspired Wonder Woman. The way this is done furthers your appreciation for the character and the women behind her. When Olive first appears in the outfit that was the inspiration for Wonder Woman’s costume, chills ran through my body. These perfect touches to the film show the love and admiration that Angela Robinson has for the material.
Handling this topic with such care and consideration is what makes the film really shine. It is a love story at its core with intelligent characters and writing. The presentation of the relationship between William, Elizabeth, and Olive has a purity and beauty that was captured and shines throughout the film. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is spectacular, emotionally riveting, and a beautiful tribute to nonconventional love.