a Movie Review by Robyn Trask
It is refreshing to see a movie where a polyamorous relationship is shown as simply a part of the overall fabric of the character’s lives. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women is about the creator of Wonder Woman and his relationships with Elizabeth Holloway Marston, his legal wife, and Olive Byrne, their mutual partner. The movie beautifully shows the development of the relationship of the characters and how they deal with their wants and desires against the background of a society that demands conformity and sacrificing ones desires and happiness.
The various taboo themes touched on in this movie blend together to create an overall feeling of celebration of the unconventional; the tasteful portrayals exploring light BDSM, the loving relationship between the three main characters, and the emphasis on women as powerful beings. In many ways the challenges they face for their unconventional lives become obstacles to overcome so they can live authentically rather than denying the love they feel. So often I have seen the focus of movies around polyamory and/or sexual pleasure blanketed in undertones of conventional morality as characters deal with shame and/or being ostracized from society. This movie was not about polyamory, sexual pleasure, or BDSM, it was about the most celebrated female comic super hero’s creator Dr. William Moulton Marston and his feminist inspiration behind Wonder Woman. In telling his story this movie has celebrated his unconventional life as well as the amazing women who were a big part of his inspiration.
On a personal level, as a polyamory activist, I found this movie inspiring in many ways. I was moved by the overall feminist feel and the courage of these people to live authentically believing in love despite the seeming insurmountable issues they faced. I’m aware of the idealized nature of the story told in the movie, but movies often romanticize a “true” story. Frankly I loved seeing an idealized polyamory story based on real people in a real relationship. This was a reminder to me of what polyamory and Loving More are really about, which is the freedom to let love lead us, and the importance of exploring pleasure, love, and connection in whatever form they might present themselves in our lives.
In the hustle and bustle of life, activism, raising kids, and paying bills it can be easy to forget our roots. This movie helped me to remember my own struggle in coming out as non-monogamous. The fear of acceptance, of bringing the subject up with lovers, family, and friends. The choice I made at 24 to live my life authentically and honestly even if it meant being alone. The feeling screaming inside me when I was deeply in love with two men and everyone telling me it wasn’t possible and wasn’t allowed. This movie was a reminder of what I have worked so hard for and how far we have come. While polyamory is still challenging, I more often find people who want to understand it and know more rather than telling me I can’t or don’t feel what I feel. My hope is this movie can be another step forward in helping polyamorists gain acceptance in the world and allow more people to live, love and explore authentically.