Professor Marston And The Wonder Women

When I first heard of this movie, it seemed like it was going to be a film about how the Wonder Woman comic came to exist. And while that’s a significant part of the plot, it’s absolutely not the core of the film. Granted, the history lesson was a very interesting one, and helps me better understand the motivations and background story behind various aspects of the Wonder Woman character, but it’s almost a by-product.

That’s not to say that the movie was disappointing, it just wasn’t what I expected.

By which I mean the bulk of the movie was about a married couple who are in a loving relationship with a young woman who they met as a college student enrolled in the class taught by the husband. So anyone not deterred from seeing a movie where a husband and wife bring a bisexual woman into their relationship and build a family, you could very well enjoy this film. For those of you who don’t find this sort of thing to be your “cup of tea”, I can understand and respect that, which is why I wanted to give the forewarning up front.

As a historical biopic, there was quite a bit of depth to the film and the background story was far more interesting than I expected. The creator of Wonder Woman, for example, played a large role in the creation and evolution of the lie detector test, inventing something that has seemingly changed very little in 70 years. Also quite interesting is that the young college student who joins the polyamorous relationship as the pivotal wheel in their proverbial tricycle, Olive Byrne, was the daughter of feminist activist Ethel Byrne, and subsequently the niece of Margaret Sanger, both of whom were instrumental in support of birth control among other issues of the time.

The production quality was very good as well. From the cinematography, set design, wardrobe, lighting, it truly felt like it was taking place in the 1930s and 1940s. I shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore from period pieces, but it’s always somewhat impressive the way they’re able to transform an existing location and remove any anachronistic elements from it.

Anyone who might feel like this movie sounds misogynistic, I would argue otherwise. The man who created the Wonder Woman character loved strong women and wanted to show them as such. They end up in a polyamorous relationship with two women and one man, not because the man wanted two partners, but because the women wanted to be in a relationship together, and the man was only secondarily involved because of their mutual affections and to allow them to blend-in with societal norms and escape the judgment of their neighbors where possible. The bondage concepts explored by the characters involved them submitting, lovingly, to one another, not simply the women to the men.

At this point, I’m guessing some people decided that although they initially thought they could be interested in the movie, but have decided against it. I would say it’s your loss, because it’s well done and gives decent insight into the history of one of the most iconic characters of the past 100 years, the lie detector test, and provides a look at what a polyamorous relationship can look like.

My Rating: 80 out of 100

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