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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women | 2017 | R | - 8.3.6

Based on real events: American psychologist William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) created the action hero Wonder Woman during WWII. Marston, his wife (Rebecca Hall), and his mistress (Bella Heathcote) had a polyamorous relationship and liked bondage; the Wonder Woman comics were initially controversial. Also with Oliver Platt, JJ Field and Connie Britton. Directed by Angela Robinson. [1:48]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A woman follows another woman to an empty auditorium, the first woman kisses the other woman for several seconds as the first woman's husband enters and smiles slightly at the women in a passionate kiss, one woman's hand is seen on the other woman's clothed buttock and the three kiss one another several times; they walk onto a stage and don costumes, they continue kissing, the women roll on the stage and kiss, stopping for the man to kiss one of the women, and one woman opens the wrap of the other woman and kisses her bare abdomen and stomach (we see her breasts in close-up); one woman sits on the prone man's groin as they move up and down (no flesh is seen during intercourse) and the first woman walks close by, bends, and kisses the other woman as the scene ends.
 A husband and his wife hide in a balcony as they watch sorority women in a "Baby Party," where they wear long white gowns and nightcaps; one woman wearing a gown that ends mid-thigh is told to kneel as another woman sits on a hassock and makes the girl bend across her lap, and then spanks her with a thick paddle 20 times (the spanked girl grunts, moans, and cries several times) as the man in the balcony reaches high under his wife's long skirt, apparently sexually stimulating her as she watches the spanking (she groans and moans); the spanker looks up at them and gasps as the scene ends.
 In the back room of a bondage store a man shows a small gathering how to tie up a woman wearing a long slip (her neck and shoulders are bare and the slip clings to her breasts) as she gasps several times as the man pulls ropes around her body at several heights and ties her wrists tightly, and then releases as the woman says the rope hurts a little, and the man says that love is pain; a woman onlooker rushes from the room and argues with her husband, but goes back and they see their girlfriend wearing a tight corset that reveals cleavage, thigh-high boots and holding a rope, and the wife ties the other woman's wrists behind her back, and winds the rope slowly around her as the tied woman gasps and the husband looks on and smiles. A man and a woman (both clothed) kiss and bend far over out of the frame (sex is suggested as the scene ends). A woman cries and says, "I love you" to another woman and kisses her for several seconds. A woman says, "I love you with all of my heart" and kisses another woman.
 A nude man stands against his wife's back and she is wearing a long negligee as another woman winds a rope around them and kisses each of them and moans (we see the top of the man's buttocks and the wife is braless and we can see the outline of nipples); another woman enters the unlocked house, curses, and gasps at the scene, running away.
 A comic shows a line drawing of a woman sucking a man's penis. A man takes brochures, comics, and grainy photos of bondage to his wife and their girlfriend; the wife says it is all pornography and in the collection we see a corset-wearing woman sitting on a man's back. Several photos show a woman wearing a corset and holding a whip (cleavage is shown). A few cartoons feature women wearing corsets that bare both full buttocks and cleavage. A man enters a bondage/S&M store and the male owner asks if he is a "devotee of the high heel" or perhaps the police; the customer says he does not understand and the owner shows him mannequins dressed in black armored bras and underwear and we also see corsets. We see women and men tied up in ropes and chains and a woman in ropes being spanked as she winks at the reader.
 A crying woman tells a husband and his tearful wife that she is pregnant with the man's baby and the camera cuts to the wife holding the baby and smiling; the three agree to remain together as a marriage and family. A woman, her husband, and another couple tell the three people to take their children out of the local public school because they are "perverts and freaks." A man invents the lie detector and tests himself and two women; the three people find that they all love one another. A woman says to another woman, "I am open to having sex with you." A man says that lesbianism is normal. A caption states that two women and a man lived together as a polyamorous married unit until the man died, after which the women stayed together for 38 more years. A caption states that Wonder Woman was stripped of super powers and sexual behaviors after the death of the writer in 1947 until 1972, when Gloria Steinem put the character on the front of a feminist magazine.
 We see two pregnant women with large bellies bulging under long sweaters and we later see three adults living with their three children. A woman enters a bedroom and gets into bed under covers with another woman and a man (long gowns cover the women except for cleavage and the man wears a long- sleeved pajama top with the rest of him covered by a blanket). Several comic book panels show women wearing long gowns and togas that reveal cleavage. A woman wears a US flag-colored corset that reveals some cleavage. A woman removes her blouse and we see her bra, cleavage and bare abdomen; it looks like there is a garter belt over her skirt. A man raises the long skirt of a woman to the knees and attaches a blood pressure cuff below the knee.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - Two men get into a fistfight, rolling on the ground; the larger man kicks the other man in the stomach after the second man falls with a bruised and scraped face and we see blood on his cheek and lip.
 A 10-year-old boy arrives home after school with a blackened eye and red scrapes around one cheek and both eyes; he tells his mother that he was beaten at school, after being told rumors about his mother, father, and a woman friend living together (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details); the three adults confront two couples who call them names and say the kids are a bad influence on the two couple's children.
 A scene and a flashback show young adults collecting and burning Wonder Woman and other comics in the late 1940s on a large bonfire as they shout.
 Two men argue and curse in a publisher's office. A man is upbraided in a long meeting with a national children's psychology agency in the 1940s where he is accused of writing comic books full of illegal sex acts, depravity, abnormal behaviors and violence. A woman psychologist states that a comic writer is hiding a depraved, illegal secret life. Two couples at a picnic argue; the fiancé of one of the women calls the other couple names and tells his fiancée she must never see them again and after several weeks he breaks up with her because she keeps seeing them. A husband and his wife live and work with their shared girlfriend (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details); the wife tells the other woman three times to move out over several years and both women cry each time and twice, the married couple tearfully convinces the other woman to return; the girlfriend takes her two sons (teen and 10-year-old) with her at one point. A woman makes a younger woman cry immediately after meeting her by telling her to not have sex with her husband (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A husband and his wife argue several times, loudly when they are both fired from Harvard. In a hospital room, a man and his wife speak with their ex-girlfriend (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details); they ask her to return to their house, she refuses, then both women become tearful and the husband and his wife kneel on the floor and ask again (the woman becomes tearful and agrees).
 A man coughs badly for several seconds, collapses on a staircase landing and the camera cuts to the man lying on a moving gurney in a hospital; we see his hands restrained to a bed with wide leather locking cuffs in close-up and we later see him not restrained, but groggy in a hospital bed and we later see two IV bags with clear liquid running into two lines taped to his arm (we hear that he is dying and a caption appears later stating that he died of cancer in 1947).


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LANGUAGE 6 - About 16 F-words and its derivatives, 6 sexual references, 7 scatological terms, 11 anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, name-calling (freaks, perverts, reprobates, smut, slut, fascists, neurotic, hooligans, brat, drunk, fool, cesspool, riff raff, kinky), exclamations (shut it), 5 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, God, Jesus, Jesus Christ).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man asks if a woman knows where to get marijuana and she says that she does not and that it is illegal. A woman drinks whiskey from a scientific beaker twice and from a flask once, many men and women drink mixed drinks and short glasses of smoky-colored liquor in a restaurant, and men and women drink wine at a dinner. Heavy smoking occurs among men and women throughout the film, a meeting room with four men and a woman is filled with smoke in several scenes as they all smoke cigarettes, a husband and his wife smoke cigarettes in their college office many times as well as in their home and at two picnics, a man smokes in a hallway, the production room of a comic book is filled with men smoking and we see several clouds of smoke, and several men and women smoke cigarettes in a restaurant where we see clouds of cigarette smoke.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Uses and misuses of psychology, feminism, chauvinism, women's rights, strong women, Amazon-woman legends, nontraditional marriages, bisexuality, homosexuality, polyamory, sex bondage, shame, excitement, people who are different, lies, hidden identities, changing American morality post-WWII, equal rights, determination, courage, risk-taking, relationships, love, respect, commitment to ideals, being true to oneself.

MESSAGE - Early Wonder Woman comics pushed the cause of equal rights and went on to create an icon of human rights today.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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