I only title it this way because the director of Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman so eloquently and meticulously put together a film I never realized I’d enjoy so much. Now, onto the review and summation…
The film encircles Professor Marston’s research of DISC theory, his infatuation with a young student named Olive, and how Wonder Woman’s character came about as a result of Marston’s relationship with both his wife and their partner Olive. Spoiler alert: Elizabeth and William Marston, are seen in a poly amours relationship with Olive Byrne. And I love it!!!
CATEGORIES OF EMOTION (DISC THEORY)
- Dominance – having power and influence over others so as to convince someone to do/say something
- Inducement – the act of seducing someone to your way of thinking
- Submission – accepting or yielding to a loving authority
- Compliance – submitting to authority because you have to, not because you want to – implying if neglected, behaviors can lead to fascism, crime and war
Professor Marston is seen referring to the above concepts several times throughout the film, and I’ll admit, having only had an opportunity to take a handful of psychology courses in college, I loved a bit of a psychology lesson.
When the camera showed the class, Olive among them, and cut to Elizabeth resting on the windsill as William taught, I thought for a moment Elizabeth was a student herself. Of course, the moment that she spoke, Mrs. Marston’s presence transfixed me. Her ferociousness, and unencumbered ability to relay how she was feeling at any moment was stupendous to witness.
As enraptured as I was as a viewer, I’m still amazed to realize Elizabeth, Olive and William discovering themselves in a relationship during the 1920s, post-World War I, when homosexuality and lesbianism were considered to be a mental illness. It’s a terrifying thought when women and men could be seen as mad or mental simply for loving someone of the same sex.
In many flashbacks, Dr. Marston is shown confronting a woman from the National League of Decency, defending his Wonder Woman character on camera. It was an intriguing paradox, watching his reasons for creating the character, just as the Marstons and Olive get to know each other at other moments.
The lie detector lasso though…..I had no idea its origins stemmed from Elizabeth Marston’s work creating the lie detector test with the help of Olive and her husband.
Above all, I adore Dr. Marston’s inspiration for Wonder Woman as a comic book character: Elizabeth and Olive. The fact that he drew from qualities of both women, and the BDSM like activities the three explored together to weave together a fierce character like Wonder Woman astounds me.
“Olive (Byrne) is beautiful, guileless, kind and pure of heart. (Elizabeth) You’re ferocious, hilarious, and a grade A bitch. Together, you are the perfect woman.”
Suffering Sappho is such a cheeky catchphrase. The way that a bisexual icon like Wonder Woman has rose and continued to be beloved today for her representation in comics gives me hope that children can grow up unafraid to discover their own sexual preferences, knowing Wonder Woman and the people behind the character were able to live their lives despite push back and ridicule against both the character (whose comics were burned in protest thanks to the NLD’s propaganda) and the trio I’ll affectionately call Olivabilliam, because obnoxious and occasionally catchy ship names are cool.
“Do you think it’s possible to love two people at the same time?”
Yes Elizabeth, yes I do.
I can’t recommend this film enough. If anyone is interested, feel free to enjoy it online on Hulu today.