* * * 1/2 (out of five)
Angela Robinson’s extremely tasteful advocation of everything right in the world – or at least, sexual freedom for all – could be re-titled My First Guide To Bondage and Threesomes. The tale it tells is wondrous strange and could have been told – in the hands of, say, Amy Seimitz (The Girlfriend Experience) – with a hard R rating and a lot of salt, saliva, spanking, sperm and sweat; instead, Robinson focuses on flutterings of the heart rather than lashings of the whip, and a fascination with coats more than corsets. It’s all very nice, and at the moment, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
Ostensibly, it’s the story of William Marston’s inspiration for, and creation of, the comic book character Wonder Woman (and how timely then, this long-gestating project of Robinson’s is). In the telling, it’s a love triangle between his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), Marston (Luke Evans) and one of his university students, Olive (Bella Heathcote). The spin here is – as it was in real life – that this is a three-sided, three-pointed triangle, not the “two vying for one” situation from a hundred thousand other movies.
In focusing on the three-way love affair, the trio’s growing fascination with bondage gets short shrift, and the creation of Wonder Woman almost feels tacked on. But there’s a towering, commanding, technically impeccable performance from Hall at the heart of the film – one of the best lead performances of 2017, easily – and the underlying story is rather irresistible. An obvious labour of love, this is a film with extremely deep affection for its characters, which you will certainly share by the end.
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