Whenever we get biopics, they mostly tend to focus on historical legends who did truly incredible things in their lives that Hollywood feels the need to embellish and translated to the screen for the world to see and enjoy, whether it's Lincoln or the recent Darkest Hour. Yet every once in a while, we have a biopic that's about the outcast, the oddballs that the history books often ignore but are crucially important in how our world is shaped today. Professor Marston is absolutely one of those people, and despite being the inventor of the lie detector and being the originator of Wonder Woman, the most famous female superhero ever, William Moulton Marston is a name not that familiar with most people, but thanks to writer/director Angela Robinson, the story of him and his partners Elizabeth Marston and Olive Byrne is finally brought to the screen.
This film is a fascinating exploration into the lives of three people who live or are outside of what society considers to be normal, and the best movies of this nature explore this, whether it's exploring the issues of race, gender or sexuality. At the time period this movie takes place, those issues were considered taboo and out of place as opposed to today where we just accept those issues as completely normal, and yet with this movie, even today the topics it raises about having a polyamorous relationship would still probably be considered as subversive and irregular as it was back then. That central relationship and the love that drives each of these three characters is the beating emotional core of this film as we see them trying to live in a world that wouldn't accept that, and that relationship is what William Marston uses to further his psychological exploration into his DISC theory (dominance, inducement, submission, and compliance).
Some may say that this movie is too romanticised or complete fiction, but it's to Robinson's credit that she has made Marston's story accessible to even the most mainstream of audiences and letting them having a good general understanding of what that relationship could've been like during that time period, what these people could've been like, and how that three-way relationship went into making Wonder Woman what she was, which was a sexually subversive character whose goal was to strengthen women's position in the world. As well as being a beautifully constructed movie with incredible characters, it's also complemented by fantastic performances; Luke Evans gives a very charismatic performance that's full of wonder, curiosity, frustration and sadness, while the brilliant Bella Heathcote delivers the best performance of her career. However, the real star of the show, by a mile, is the phenomenal Rebecca Hall, who as Elizabeth is headstrong, outspoken, hilarious, and opinionated yet flawed all at the same time, and all plaudits definitely go to Hall for conveying all those emotions and traits effortlessly.
Intelligent, risqué, engaging and fun, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a subversive, yet informative movie that offers a fascinating insight into three remarkable people that helped shape the modern world as we see it today, as well as change the norm of what is considered to be 'normal' relationships. This tackles a socially divisive topic with effortless bravery, makes those issues relevant, and kudos to the three central leads for making that dynamic believable. Maybe a bit too long in places, but there's no denying that Angela Robinson has made what is an excellent, yet ballsy movie.
PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ANGELA ROBINSON / STARRING: LUKE EVANS, REBECCA HALL, BELLA HEATHCOTE, CONNIE BRITTON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW