Kinsey (2004)
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Review Date: January 03, 2005
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Bill Condon
Producers: Gail Mutrux
Liam Neeson as Dr. Kinsey
Laura Linney as Mac
Peter Sarsgaard as Clyde
This is the story based on the real-life scientifically based sexual studies conducted by Dr. Kinsey, a man with a cute wife, open-minded kids and a wicked haircut. The decade was the 1950s and people in America just didn’t talk about sex. Kinsey decided that not only was he going to talk about it, but he was going to research it, engage in it, take pictures and ask lots and lots of dirty questions. Let the sexual revolution begin?
I learned two very important things from this movie: 1) it’s okay to be different and 2) Dr. Kinsey apparently had a huge cock. Sure, one of the points was a lot more effective in driving home the film’s baseline theory, but let’s face it, the whole “being different” bit is also pretty deep, no? I honestly didn’t think I was going to care much for this film, especially since I saw it weeks after all the hype about it had already gotten out there, but low and behold, there I was, quite fascinated with the comings and goings of one Dr. Al Kinsey. I think a lot of my ongoing interest in the film came from both the splendid presentation by Liam Neeson as the infamous big-dicked man (you pretty much forget that it’s Neeson after the first few scenes), as well as director Bill Condon’s excellent screenplay and development, as you really get a sense of where the professor is coming from, all without getting too bogged down in the details of his life or psychology. The film’s supporting players also helped the movie gain further credence with the lovely Laura Linney (sans Richard Gere) fully materialized as the wife of the man with little-but-sex on the mind. His three research assistants, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris “where has this guy been since the disaster that was BATMAN & ROBIN?” O’Donnell and Timothy Hutton, were also nice additions to the piece, particularly Sarsgaard who helped bring a whole other more personal angle to the proceedings. Hutton’s mustache also deserves some award recognition, to be sure. Not sure how Tim Curry got into the picture though.

But at the end of the day, it’s the film’s storyline, its focus on sex and Kinsey’s continued workaholic ways to get to the scientific bottom of what Americans like to do under the sheets, that keeps this picture moving, as the discoveries, the taboo nature of the topic at the time, the morality squad made up of all the external forces and the gaggle of surprise notions put forth by the doctor’s many sample subjects, glue together an excellent biopic about a man whose pragmatic nature regarding the subject of sex, was simply ahead of its time. The film is sure to be a big hit in the “red states”…hehehe. I also like how it didn’t shy away from Kinsey’s own faults as a man, husband and father, putting to the test the morale code of what a “normal man” should be. Of course, part of the film’s general conceit is that there really is no “normality” when it comes to human sexuality, and that at the end of the day, perhaps adopting a nonjudgmental viewpoint a la Kinsey, might be the way to go. Then again, there are folks like that man in this film who kept records of his many 9000+ bizarre sexual conquests who make that sort of thing a little more difficult to achieve at times. All that said, and without me injecting my own personal morale compass onto the film, I quite enjoyed my time with this Kinsey fellow, particularly because of Neeson’s straight-forward and no-bullshit portrayal of the man, as well as the film’s surprisingly touching love story, connection to his father, and ultimately, its overall quality as a motion picture and genuinely stimulating nature as a topic.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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