‘Pro­fes­sor Marston and the Won­der Women’

‘Pro­fes­sor‘PPro­fes­sorf Marston’ MMarston’t’ ex­plore­sex­ploresl Won­derWon­derWd Wo­manW roots

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plays Wil­liam Moul­ton Marston, a col­lege pro­fes­sor mar­ried to El­iz­a­beth (Re­becca Hall, who’s twice as good as any­one or any­thing else in the movie), who, too, is an aca­demic.

Marston and his wife are ex­plor­ing themes of dom­i­nance and sub­mis­sion (it’s the 1920s, th­ese things are not widely ac­cepted) when on cam­pus, Marston spots young co-ed Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), in whom he sees a po­ten­tial stu­dent as­sis­tant and, well, more. Soon, all three are in a poly­mor­phous re­la­tion­ship, and Byrne winds up the in­spi­ra­tion for Marston to cre­ate the Won­der Wo­man char­ac­ter.

“Pro­fes­sor Marston” is framed

GRADE: C Rated R for strong sex­ual con­tent in­clud­ing brief graphic im­ages and

lan­guage Run­ning time: 108 min­utes by Marston’s bat­tles with a de­cency board over “Won­der Wo­man’s” con­tent, giv­ing the film a thin dra­matic de­vice that never puts enough at stake. It’s bet­ter when fo­cus­ing on its three-way love story, which it han­dles with del­i­cacy and grace.

Still, Heathcote — who was quite good as a va­pid model in last year’s “The Neon De­mon” — can’t han­dle the heft of the role; much of “Marston” re­lies on her and her abil­ity to en­chant, and she seems out­classed by the ma­te­rial (and by Hall in par­tic­u­lar).

Writer-di­rec­tor An­gela Robin­son (TV’s “The L Word”) is hes­i­tant to go all the way with the film’s premise; it stops short of em­brac­ing the very kink that it is talk­ing about, fa­vor­ing a soft­ened ver­sion that feels san­i­tized for gen­eral au­di­ences. Won­der Wo­man wouldn’t stand for that; “Pro­fes­sor Marston” could stand to gain from be­ing tied up in her lasso of truth.

Claire Folger Annapurna Pic­tures

Re­becca Hall, left, Luke Evans and Bella Heathcote star in the bi­og­ra­phy “Pro­fes­sor Marston and the Won­der Women.”

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