The phenomenal success of Wonder Woman – to date the second-highest-grossing film of 2017 – lends timeliness to Professor Marston And The Wonder Women (15) ★★★★, the story of how the first female comic-book superhero came to be written.
Back in late Twenties New England, William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) was a professor teaching psychology at then all-female Radcliffe College.
His wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), conceives an early version of the lie detector, a device that director Angela Robinson harnesses here to erotically highly charged effect when they both fall in love with a beautiful young student, Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote, right, with Hall and Evans) and she with them. But can their ménage à trois possibly live happily ever after?
Robinson’s screenplay is beautifully and intelligently crafted, with much of the story being told in effective flashback. All the performances are good but Hall’s is outstanding, in a film that fudges a few issues but always remains highly watchable, albeit in a rather superior 50 Shades Of Grey sort of way.
Having wearied of films in which
men fall in love with a sexy computer programme or android (Her, Ex Machina, Blade Runner
2049) it’s refreshing to see the same idea used to tell a different sort of story. I mean, if you were a grieving widow, desperately missing your late husband, wouldn’t you warm to a holographic computer programme that brought him back to life?
Michael Almereyda’s thought-provoking Marjorie Prime (12A) ★★★★ is based on a play by Jordan Harrison, one of the lead writers of Orange Is The New Black. What it has to say about memory definitely stays with you. Kaleidoscope (15) ★★★★ is a low-budget psychological thriller that should be compulsory viewing for film students, showing what can be achieved with good actors (Toby Jones and Anne Reid) and a decent script, even when other resources are obviously limited. Jones (whose brother Rupert directs and writes) plays Carl, who wakes up in his flat after a big night to discover a young woman’s body in his bathroom. Finding out how it got there is more complicated than you think. I spent the first 90 minutes of Only The Brave (12A) ★★★ thinking this starstudded tale of a team of Arizona forestfire-fighters way too American for more restrained British tastes. I spent the harrowing last third feeling rather ashamed of myself.
Jennifer Connelly in Only The Brave