Professor Marston and the Wonder Women deftly blends a beautiful tale of romance with the story of Wonder Woman’s origin and her feminist ideals.
In 1928, Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) is a professor at Radcliffe College teaching psychology and further researching his theory of DISC assessment, which centers on the four behavioural traits of dominance, inducement, submission, and compliance. Along with his wife, Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) – who completed all the work to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University, but was refused the degree due to her being a woman – Dr. Marston also works to develop a functioning lie detector. During one semester, Dr. Marston and Elizabeth take on a teacher’s assistant, Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), who they both are fascinated by and eventually become infatuated with – despite her being engaged to another man.
After rumors of Dr. Marston and Elizabeth’s relationship with Olive spread throughout campus, furthered by Olive breaking off her engagement and revealing she’s pregnant, the three leave Radcliffe and begin living together. Once Olive’s son is born, she and the Marstons decide to live together and pass their relationship off as something less taboo in mid-20th century society. Dr. Marston struggles to make a living as a writer, and eventually turns to comic books in the early 1940s with his idea for a new female superhero who embodies all his, Elizabeth’s, and Olive’s ideals of feminism. However, the comic’s themes and depictions of bondage draw criticism and Dr. Marston is forced to attend a hearing to discuss the comic’s origin with Josette Frank (Connie Britton) from the Child Study Association of America. Through this story, Dr. Marston reveals how Wonder Woman came to be.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is based on the real creator of one of DC Comics’ most famous superheroes, Wonder Woman, and the women in his life who inspired the Amazonian warrior goddess Diana. The film is written and directed by Angela Robinson, who has worked a great deal in television, writing and directing episodes of True Blood and The L Word, and helmed the 2004 action film D.E.B.S. In addition to creating Wonder Woman, Dr. Marston and Elizabeth also created a working lie detector, with Elizabeth making the breakthrough of developing the systolic blood-pressure test, which plays a key role in the movie. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women deftly blends a beautiful tale of romance with the story of Wonder Woman’s origin and her feminist ideals.
From the standpoint of learning about the creation of Wonder Woman, Professor Marston is a fascinating study in how Dr. Marston combined elements of the women in his life – Elizabeth and Olive, mainly – with inspirations from all around him. Robinson steeps the film in imagery and references to all aspects of the early Wonder Woman character, from her loose basis in Roman mythology to the lasso of truth being inspired by Dr. Marson’s work developing the lie detector. In particular, Dr. Marston’s learning of how BDSM validates his DISC theory and becomes a part of both his personal life as well as Wonder Woman makes for a truly engrossing origin story. And, Dr. Marston’s aim to use his Wonder Woman character as, essentially, propaganda to teach young girls and boys how to embody the feminist ideals of the era proves to create some surprisingly fun drama when it antagonizes the parents of those children reading the comics.
However, while Professor Marston is ostensibly a story about how Wonder Woman was created, her actual creation and Dr. Marston’s fight with the Child Study Association of America and similar organizations are more of a frame for the true story art the heart of the film. That would be the relationship between Dr. Marston, Elizabeth, and Olive, with the main conflict arriving in how they struggle to fit their relationship into a society that believes them to be unconventional and abnormal. This main storyline hits all the major plot beats of a typical romance so Professor Marston is, in that regard, actually quite conventional. However, what makes the film subversive is its use of this classic story structure for a tale about a healthy and loving polyamorous relationship that goes through some of the same struggles as any other relationship, in addition to dealing with the societal pressure to be “normal” – and that tale is both moving and beautiful.
The budding relationship, consummation, and domestic partnership between Dr. Marston, Elizabeth, and Olive is equal parts romantic and sexy without ever crossing over into being objectifying of the women involved. With Robinson behind the camera, there is no trace of the male gaze in the sex scenes between Dr. Marston, Elizabeth, and Olive. As a result, they feel more honest and take the relationship between the three main characters to a deeper level of understanding. While their relationship is portrayed as a fantasy, it isn’t framed as a trite sexual fantasy, but as the desire to be true to oneself in a society where anything honest beyond what’s accepted as normal is repressed or overtly antagonized. Robinson’s deft work behind the camera – and, no doubt, with the script – helps to create real, palpable sexual tension between all three main characters that stems from love and feels earned within the scope of the film, making it all the more compelling.
To be sure, the captivating performances of Evans as Dr. Marston, Hall as Elizabeth, and Heathcote as Olive bring this story and these characters to life on the screen. Hall is perhaps the most magnetic of the three leads, giving Elizabeth a vibrancy that makes an exceptional argument for her being the true star of the film. Evans, meanwhile, is fantastically charming as Dr. Marston, and Heathcote’s Olive is quietly powerful in her self-assuredness, making it easy to understand why both Dr. Marston and Elizabeth become enraptured by her. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women also features small but memorable turns by Britton as Josette Frank, the woman leading an investigation into the Wonder Woman comic, and Oliver Platt as comic book publisher Max Gaines. But, this movie belongs to Evans, Hall, and Heathcote, and their performances are more than enough to weave a compelling tale.
All in all, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a spiritual followup to Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and will no doubt entertain moviegoers who are interested in learning about the creation of Diana Prince during the early 1940s. But, of course, Professor Marston falls much more into the drama and romance genres, excelling in both regards to tell the story of Charles Moulton and his new kind of superhero. The film may not be for everyone, but it is a beautiful romance story, compelling character drama, and an historical look at the origins of Wonder Woman – and, as such, will appeal to any moviegoer interested in such topics. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is by no means an entirely perfect film, but it does excel in telling the story it aims to tell while embodying the ideals of Wonder Woman.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman starts playing in U.S. theaters tonight. It runs 108 minutes and is rated R for strong sexual content including brief graphic images, and language.
Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!
Harvey Weinstein ‘doesn’t recall pressuring Salma Hayek’ for an intimate scene in Frida, says statement
On Wednesday (13 December) Hollywood actress Salma Hayek wrote an op-ed on The New York Times detailing her harrowing experiences with the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
She had alleged that her continuous rebuffing of Weinstein’s sexual advances had brought upon the wrath of the latter on to her, especially during the shoot of the 2002 film Frida. She said Weinstein forced her to do an intimate scene, which was not required at all, with co-actress Ashley Judd. Along with that, she was also subjected to physical assaults, death threats by him.
In a recent statement, Weinstein denied Hayek’s accusations saying all of them were not accurate. He especially refutes Hayek’s claims of having been pressurised by him into doing intimate scenes with Judd in Frida.
Vanity Fair carries a report which contains the whole statement issued by Weinstein’s spokesperson:
Mr Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Dogma, and Studio 54. He was very proud of her best-actress Academy Award nomination for Frida and continues to support her work.
While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over $12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on Frida, but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.
Mr Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female co-star and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original unibrow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired.
Ed Norton, who was Ms Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, [worked with Mr Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico] did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment.
By Mr Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of Frida was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.
Hayek hasn’t yet responded to Weinstein’s denial of the accounts mentioned by her on The New York Times‘ op-ed.
Fukrey Returns box office: Richa Chadha, Ali Fazal starrer steadily inches towards 50 cr
The ground-breaking success Fukrey Returns proves that 2017 was a year of comedy sequels.
Starring Richa Chadha, Pulkit Samrat, Ali Fazal, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh in leading roles, the cult comedy is steadily inching closer to the 50 crore mark. Its current box office collections stand at a neat Rs 46.65 crore.
#FukreyReturns is all set for a GLORIOUS Week 1… Biz is SUPER-STRONG on weekdays… Fri 8.10 cr, Sat 11.30 cr, Sun 12.80 cr, Mon 5.10 cr, Tue 5.05 cr, Wed 4.30 cr. Total: ₹ 46.65 cr. India biz.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) December 14, 2017
Backed by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment, the film had crossed the 40 crore mark in just five days — unusual for a film with a cult following. It also saw consistent growth in the opening weekend.
#FukreyReturns is simply UNSTOPPABLE… EXCELLENT hold on Tue [almost at par with Mon biz]… Fri 8.10 cr, Sat 11.30 cr, Sun 12.80 cr, Mon 5.10 cr, Tue 5.05 cr. Total: ₹ 42.35 cr. India biz. — taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) December 13, 2017
Internationally, too, the film has been doing great and has minted over Rs 5 crore, its key markets being the USA and the UAE.
#FukreyReturns – OVERSEAS – Total till 12 Dec 2017: $ 926,000 [₹ 5.97 cr]…
USA-Canada: $ 218,000
UAE-GCC: $ 338,000
ANZ: $ 78,000
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) December 13, 2017
All the cast members reprise their roles in the second installment of the Fukrey Franchise, which revolves around two boys — Hunny and Chucha and their amusing encounters.
Rajinikanth sets aside six days to meet fans; thousands of people expected to attend
If you’re a superstar Rajinikanth fan, here’s your chance to get a photo clicked with your matinee idol. For the second time this year, the 67-year-old actor is all set to meet his fans later this month and it is expected that thousands of people are likely to grace the occasion.
In a statement released by All India Rajinikanth Fans Association on Thursday, it has been confirmed that Rajinikanth will meet his fans from December 26-31 at his Raghavendra hall. The statement added that over 1000 people per day are expected to attend the event and therefore police protection has been sought.
“He couldn’t meet most of his fans earlier this year in May. This time he hopes to meet as many as possible during the six days. A photo session from 8 am to 3 pm on all days has been planned just as last time. He will also address the gathering as and when possible,” a source close to Rajinikanth told Firstpost.
In May, addressing a large gathering of his fans, Rajinikanth clarified that he hasn’t completely ruled out a career in politics and that he will take the path if god willing. “At every phase, God decides what we have to do in life. As an actor I have a responsibility and I’m fulfilling it now. If god willing, I will enter politics. If I enter, I’ll be honest and won’t entertain those who see this as easy means to make money.”
Talking about his brief stint in politics when he supported DMK in 1996 Tamil Nadu assembly elections, he said it was a political accident. “Supporting a political alliance 21 years ago was a mistake on my part. My name was misused by a lot of politicians and some of them even earned money using my name. My support is for no party,” he added.
Rajinikanth also warned his fans to stay away from drinking and smoking. He said that not only does these habits affect someone’s health but also their decision making ability. “I always used to wonder how people can lose their whole wealth just by drinking. It took me a while to realise that drinking leads to bad decision making and some bad decisions and end someone’s life. I have been personally affected by drinking and smoking, please don’t fall prey to it.”
On the career front, Rajinikanth awaits the release of 2.0 and Kaala. Both these films – which are riding on high stakes – are expected to hit the screens in 2018. Shankar-directed magnum opus 2.0, with a budget of Rs. 450 cr, is set for release on April 27, 2018.
Pa. Ranjith’s Kaala, in which Rajinikanth plays a slum lord-turned-gangster, is most likely to release during summer of 2018. It is strongly believed that he will take his political plunge in 2019.
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