Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, written and directed by Angela Robinson, is a compelling and fascinating watch. This biography/drama depicts the true story behind the Wonder Women comics, written by William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans). The ideas filling the pages of Marston’s comics stem from his personal life and are inspired by his two loves, Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) and Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote). Unfortunately, his private life strays too much from the traditional for the general public to accept, even in the pages of a comic book.
In her film, Robinson shares a different kind of love story about the polyamorous love between the Marstons and Byrne, using their story as a means to discuss issues of sexuality, society, and morality. She cleans it up, a bit, with her writing, making their love affair seem more straightforward and true than it could possibly be in real life—perfect for a Hollywoodesque romance. However, Robinson doesn’t trivialize the trio’s griefs but incorporates them into the plot in a calculated manner to send a resounding message that seems to say, “Love conquers all.”
Through a combination of her writing and direction, Robinson somehow manages to make the trio’s polyamorous love seem beautiful. Notice warmer tones on screen during happy, loving moments they share and cooler, bleaker tones during scenes of conflict, especially as William Marston sits before the Child Study Association of America, defending his creation, the Wonder Woman comics. The differing color schemes are used to influence the viewer to accept this different type of love. The film says, “This is beautiful, too,” and it is. Robinson creates a beautiful love story that only a brilliant cast can tell.
All three main actors, Evans, Hall, and Heathcote, were amazing in the film. The chemistry on screen was nearly tangible. They were able to portray the seriousness of their characters’ situation without making it cheesy—quite unlike Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). The film veers towards the raunchy side with a couple of racy sex scenes including scenes depicting bondage, giving it an R rating for good reason. (PSA: Please do not take children to watch this film.)
Watching this film, I am reminded of the controversy generated by the Deadpool (2016) movie. Deadpool received mixed reviews due to controversy about the amount and type of NSFW content in the film. I expect the same will be true for this film with some people hating it and others loving it. However, you can be sure there is never a dull moment.
Come in with an open mind and prepare for 1 hr. 48 min. of scenes that make you question society. By the end of the film, you’ll be reevaluating what is socially acceptable in terms of sexuality and what we classify as love. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is out now in theaters.