PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN
The true story of the unconventional life of Dr. William Marston (Luke Evans), the Harvard psychologist who invented the modern lie detector test and created the character of Wonder Woman in 1941. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), also a psychologist and inventor, and Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), a former student. Wonder Woman was a powerful role model, representing feminist ideals shared by Elizabeth and Olive. But the comic book character led to controversy that would impact the three lovers for the rest of their lives.
Review by Louise Keller:
A psychologist, his scientist wife and the girl with a pure heart are the central characters in this stimulating and intriguing film in which emotions, behavior, sexual perversions and love are the themes. In a nutshell, it's about psychology, polyamory and the creation of Wonder Woman. It's quite a story.
Based on the incredible, real life story about psychologist William Marston, Angela Robinson's film dabbles deep as it explores the key behaviour traits that form the radical thinker's DISC theory - involving dominance, inducement, submission and compliance. It is no coincidence that his famous comic book super heroine boasts all of these traits. There are many story strands including the emergence of feminism but the crux of the film is about love - where the strict structures of society collide with the unconventional. Thought-provoking, provocative and beautifully realised, this is a film you should not miss.
I want to study her, Bill Marston (Luke Evans) tells his wife and colleague Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall), as he observes beautiful blonde college student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), her body language expressing her intuitive sense of self as she responds to a young man vying for her attention. In Bill's eyes, the attributes of Elizabeth and Olive combined, form the perfect woman. Thus begins a controversial polyamorous relationship, complete with role-playing and sadomasochism. A lingering kiss for two becomes the ultimate fantasy for three under a golden glow. This is one of the film's most memorable scenes.
But it is one of many. Watch for the scene when Bill discovers that irrespective of what is said, the body (through elevated blood pressure) betrays its owner through his invention of the lie detector. There's a tantalising game called 'what do I long for?'; two women and a man in bed 'spooning'; spanking that excites both the spectator and participant; the creation and emergence of Wonder Woman (Bill's 'love letter') - at the G-String King's bondage shop (JJ Feild in a beguiling cameo).
Flawless performances bring the three central characters to life. Classically handsome, Evans is suitably charming as the psychologist working as a comic book writer; Hall gives her best performance to date as the brilliant scientist who knows she is more intelligent than her husband; Heathcote lovely as the temptress-catalyst, whose actions contradict her innocent demeanour.
Central to the construct of Robinson's screenplay is the moral compass of the relentless interrogation by Connie Britton's director of Child Study Association, as the sexual perversion and violence of the Wonder Woman comic books is placed under a critical microscope. Visually, the film is a treat with outstanding production design, well used source music and assured direction that delivers robust storytelling and a golden lasso of a cinematic experience.
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PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN (MA15+)
CAST: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton, Oliver Platt
PRODUCER: Terry Leonard
DIRECTOR: Angela Robinson
SCRIPT: Angela Robinson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bryce Fortner
EDITOR: Jeffrey M. Werner
MUSIC: Tom Howe
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carl Sprague
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Releasing
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 9, 2017