The story of psychologist William Moulton Marston, the polyamorous relationship between his wife and his mistress, the creation of his beloved comic book character Wonder Woman, and the controversy the comic generated.
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Guillermo del Toro
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Details the unconventional life of Dr. William Marston, the Harvard psychologist and inventor who helped invent the modern lie detector test and created Wonder Woman in 1941. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife Elizabeth, a psychologist and inventor in her own right, and Olive Byrne, a former student who became an academic. This relationship was key to the creation of Wonder Woman, as Elizabeth and Olive's feminist ideals were ingrained in the character from her creation. Marston died of skin cancer in 1947, but Elizabeth and Olive remained a couple and raised their and Marston's children together. The film is said to focus on how Marston dealt with the controversy surrounding Wonder Woman's creation.
I really do love Wonder Woman. She is probably my favorite superhero. I love the 70s TV show with Lynda Carter and the recent film. So I was definitely hyped to see the inspiration for the creation of such an iconic character. The trailer immediately had me intrigued. An unconventional and BDSM filled relationship being the inspiration for Wonder Woman? Very exciting prospect. I did like the film though the film is more engaging in some aspects and draining in others.
The film follows William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth. Marston was known to be an inventor of an early version of the lie detector. The couple decide to form a relationship with their teaching assistant, despite being a very forbidden thought in the pre World War II era. This relationship and Olive Byrne (the teaching assistant) become the inspiration for Marston's Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is seen as disgusting at first by the media and as something that would never take off. Well guess what? I firstly loved Bella Heathcote in this. I liked her in Neon Demon but this was her real breakout performance. Her humanity is so on display, you can't help but fall in love with her. The film is also complemented with a typically great Rebecca Hall performance, she remains quite underrated. The story telling isn't always strong as the film does spend lengthy time on the development of the relationship. The film also really doesn't set itself far apart from other biopics.
The main strength of the film is its source material. This is a very interesting story. Especially if you love Wonder Woman. The inspiration for one of the most beloved superheros is rooted in a poly-amorous relationship, that's fantastic. Overall, the film isn't spectacular but the acting delivers a credible relationship and the film is a nice segway into the backstory of a hero we all know and love.
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