Professor Marston and the Wonder Women – Sweet and Contemplative Poly Romance
A Display of Two Cultures
Coming hot off the popularity and success of Wonder Woman, Dr. Marston and the Wonder Women is a far cry away from the polish, color, and lightness of a superhero film. In fact, this much more adult film tackles not only the challenges of romance, psychology, and sexual partnership in complex and NOT action-packed ways, it also blends two relatively under-represented subcultures on the big screen.
For starters, it’s rare to see positive depictions of ethical and transparent non-monogamy onscreen, and much less common to see an entire film dedicated to discussing those particular themes and lifestyles. The film also gives voice and attempts to normalize BDSM and Kink communities and bring about an appreciation of the individuals engaging with it and demystifying the behaviors and psyches.
As it stands, Dr. M and his Wonder Women compile a film with an eye towards encouraging tolerance and perhaps even inspiring growth. At the very, very least, it demonstrates a pretty respectable blending of these subcultures that left me with more interest and appreciation than I had prior to seeing the movie.
During the course of the picture, there wasn’t a single moment that felt disrespectful or abrasive in a way that might paint these cultures in an overtly negative light. As I watched the biopic, I found myself both titillated and curious about how these onscreen depictions might play out. I walked out of the cinema with a warmer heart and a higher appreciation for the cultures the film so gracefully handled.
Simple Yet Genuine Storytelling
So while the cultural depictions might be respectful, the film wouldn’t really be worthwhile unless it managed to be an impacting piece of cinema. Thankfully, the movie is cute and full of giggle-inducing moments. As far as biopics go, I can’t think of another that’s been as romantically infused like this one, and had the relationships at a focused level beyond the life of our subject. Having three subjects as the focus, and the interplay between them paid off in how the story unfolds.
While there isn’t much to say about the cinematography, the film is competently put together. Biopics tend to require a bit more grace in terms of pacing, often feeling like large gaps in time are covered quickly and without segue. This occurs once or twice here, but it’s an easy grace to give a biopic. The film lingers on the romantic scenes and attempts to build audience rapport with the sexiness and connectivity of our characters, and honestly, it works pretty well. While dealing with group sex or BDSM, the film maintains a tone of caring and compassion, as opposed to exploitation. Capturing that tone felt impressive, and mature.
Much of these moments are powered by the impressive acting by our three leads. Emotions are highly charged throughout the picture, and the acting is captivating. The climactic scene with our three leads nearly made me tear up in how it was handled. Looking left and right to my adjacent cinema-partners, tears were flowing freely.
These moments came through in a warming way. Everything felt relatively “feel good”, and while there was some cognitive provocation towards the societal complexities for our romantic heroes that may have tainted vibes, the movie aims for inspiration rather than a colder potential reality.
One of the most surprising components to this was the humor embedded in the movie. While romcoms are usually good for a chuckle or two, I rarely frame them as serious comedy contenders. Here though, I laughed on par with my favorite rom-coms that I’ve seen. Mostly giggles and guffaws, and potentially influenced by the theater-going audience I watched it with, but man, the delivery of some of these lines was magnificent.
Providing laughs, a couple of juicy mind-grapes, and sensory stimulation of various flavors… the movie worked pretty damn well. More than anything, I appreciate the themes, respect towards the cultures and potential to inspire that this film attempts to display. Without strong performances and a decent script, these cultural outreaches wouldn’t work, so I’m also thankful that the film itself was adorable, sexy, exploratory, maturely themed, and well-acted. On top of that, it’s cute, warm, and jazzed up with enough romance that it probably works best to watch it when holding the hands of two loving partners at the same time.
**Recommended for fans of this genre?** Yes. For fans of romance, or fans of biopics, this is a pretty easy to recommend romantic film. However, for more conservatively leaning individuals, there may be some controversy on-screen that should provide thought-provoking meat to chew, but could just as easily offend… especially for viewers that happen to hold an immovable framing around the values of monogamy.
**Recommended for non-fans of this genre?** No… not really. Well… maybe. Hmm. This is a movie that has the potential to unlock some new lifestyle conceptions for people that may have never once pondered the plausibility of ethical non-monogamy. It has a normalization factor around kink and love-making, and submission, and psychology. It’s also maybe not immediately accessible, or may require someone to have an already open mind to enjoy it. Maybe. Maybe it won’t convert folks who aren’t open to these thoughts already. If they aren’t, the humor, sexiness, and wonderfully acted interactions may not hit home.
Semi-arbitrary Score: 8.5/10