Professor Marston And The Wonder Women

****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Professor Marston And the Wonder Women
"It may be an odd choice for a biopic but it is certainly a brave one"

Cashing in on the superhero cult...

Hold it one pretty minute! This is about women, right? Tough girls don't cry sort of thing. And more. They kick butt.

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The title is misleading because this "based on" story is so much more interesting. It's the Forties, it's academia, it's kinky sex. Wow!

"Are you normal?"

"What is normal?"

Prof M (Luke Evans) teaches psychology at Harvard. He's married to Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), an intellectual power house who believes in truth, not charm as a social weapon nor scoring points off stupid people but that elusive component of memory which takes on conflicting disguises.

Together they invent the lie detector.

That's one thing. Another is love. Can you love two people at the same time? What about jealousy? What about infidelity?

"I'm your wife," she tells him. "Not your jailer."

As an experiment Elizabeth chooses Olive (Bella Heathcote), one of his students, a 22-year-old innocent whose blonde beauty is transparent. She recognises that the girl has a crush on her husband and that he is flattered, if not aroused, by it. Quite soon they are involved in a passionate menage a trois, involving bondage, sadism and everything in between which results in the creation of the Wonder Woman comic.

What breaks the mould in Angela Robinson's insightful representation of questionable goings on in those frugal Forties is the quality of her script and Hall's performance. Pristine is a word that comes to mind. Intelligent and grown-up are others. It may be an odd choice for a biopic but it is certainly a brave one.

The Marstons are absorbed in their quest to uncover the mystery of human emotion. In the process three children and a superheroine were born.

Note to producers and directors who use real life stories as their base. Do NOT include photographs of the genuine people during the final credits. Their looks will contrast in a shocking way with the actors and therefore diminish the pleasure of what you have just been watching.

Reviewed on: 10 Nov 2017
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The true story of the creator of Wonder Woman.

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London 2017

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