A Tender Movie about Bondage, Polyamory, and Wonder Woman

'Professor Marston and the Wonder Women' delves into Wonder Woman's true origins with love, care, and kinky sex.

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Nov 20 2017, 3:56pm

Image courtesy Annapurna

Some very light spoilers for Professor Marston and the Wonder Women ahead, but nothing you couldn’t have gleaned from the film’s trailer.

I tried out a new movie theater yesterday, a cute little place that does the Alamo Drafthouse model (food and drinks in the theater) at a particularly delicious fraction of the price. And the movie I saw was even more surprising: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, the "based-on-true-events" story of Wonder Woman’s origins. The comic was, apparently, the product of an ex-harvard psych professor’s ruminations on submission, domination, bondage, and the power of women in the world.

And really, she was based on the two women he was in love with.

That all sounds pretty fun, but also pretty Hollywood. Sure, yeah, the story of a guy and two ladies he thought were amazing. Tell me if you’ve heard that one before.

And sure, it is a bit Hollywooded up. But what is so beautiful about this movie is the way in which it subverts so much of the usual “love triangle” bullshit prevalent in media and instead, shows the tender, sometimes heart-wrenching, and often smoldering hot story of three people in love. With each other, equally.

I’ll try not to spoil anything, but I was astounded by how well the film treated love, sex, and romance.This is a movie about polyamory, about bisexuality, about queer love and family, about bondage and consent, and it is set in the 20s through the 40s. And it takes those topics seriously, with heart and sensitivity.

The relationship among our leads Bill, Olive and Elizabeth feels rooted in respect, attraction, and love. And they suffer for their love, living in a regressive world where porn is illegal and rope classes are literally underground affairs.

I’ll never walk away from a piece of media that shows what queer and poly people had to go through before my time with entirely dry eyes.

A lot of the credit should go to writer/director Angela Robinson, who, once upon a time, made smaller queer films before breaking fully into Hollywood, where she’s largely worked as a writer/director on prestige TV.

How about you, readers? Is there something you’ve watched/read/played that spoke to you much more honestly than you expected it to? Let us know on the forums!

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