Nominated for 62nd Golden Globe Awards 2005

- Best Motion Picture

- Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture : Liam Neeson

- Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture : Laura Linney

Genre: Drama
Director: Bill Concon
Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, John Lithgow, Oliver Platt
RunTime: 1 hr 53 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: R21 (Sexual Content)

Release Date: 13 January 2005

Synopsis :

Academy AwardR -winner Bill Condon (GODS AND MONSTERS) turns the microscope
on Alfred Kinsey in a portrait of a man driven to
uncover the most private secrets of a nation. What begins for Kinsey as a scientific endeavor soon takes on an intensely personal relevance, ultimately becoming an unexpected journey into the mystery of human behavior.

Liam Neeson stars as Kinsey, who in 1948 irrevocably changed American culture with his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Interviewing thousands of people about the most intimate aspects of their lives, Kinsey lifted the weight of secrecy and shame from a society in which sexual practices were mostly hidden. His work sparked one of the most intense cultural debates of the past century - a debate that rages on today.

Using the technique of his own famous sex interviews, KINSEY recounts the scientist's extraordinary journey from obscurity to global fame. Alfred Kinsey grows up the son of an engineering teacher and occasional Sunday school preacher (John Lithgow). Rebelling against the rigid piety of his home life, and drawn to the world of the senses, Kinsey becomes a Harvard-educated zoologist specializing in the study of gall wasps.

Movie Review:

In a nutshell, Kinsey follows the life of scientist Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) from his extremely troubled childhood through the publication of his book, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” to his tragic decline. We find out a lot about Alfred Kinsey in the first few minutes of this film. Condon juxtaposes black and white scenes of Kinsey’s team conducting practice interviews on their favorite scientist with cutaways to Kinsey’s past. As the team proposes a questionnaire of sexual history, we are taken into a world of a boy with an unsupportive father (John Lithgow) who spent his days studying birds and insects in the forest. As the film continues, Condon presents an older Kinsey, this time a Biology professor at Indiana University whose love for gall wasps occupies most of his time. That is, until student Clara McMillen (Laura Linney) comes along. Soon the new Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey find the science in sex, and together discover the one area of study that has yet to be thoroughly researched. Knowing that it might cost him his job, Alfred Kinsey gathers a team of assistants to help him with his research.

Surprisingly the movie offers an unexpectedly warm and comprehensive insight into his life and work, whose ground-breaking research into human sexuality had a profound effect on western culture in the second half of the twentieth century. Some say the publication of his Sexual Behavior of the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior of the Human Female (1953) led directly to the sexual revolution of the sixties. Certainly the film indicates a link between the illuminating information gathered in Kinsey’s 18,000 face-to-face interviews and the new freedom in individual sexual expression that became possible as soon as people realised that what was commonly regarded as normal or abnormal up to then was a combination of ignorance and repression in the guise of religious sermonising. Kinsey brings awareness to the American ignorance of sex education, an issue that continues to be shunned today. Now in 2005, it is still “wrong” to talk about sex in public but Kudos to Condon’s story of a man who opened the doors to sex; doors that were once shut tight.

As political a topic sex is, it’s also incredibly humorous. Kinsey is jam-packed with one-liners that left me wanting for more. I couldn’t resist laughing out to several scenes especially about a particular misunderstood interview. But of course, aside from its lighthearted presence, a more serious matter and often avoided was the notion of an argumentum whether such revelation could be for the better or worse. One can derive by saying exposure to sex education can come about helping real problems that affects a lot of people and finally gets answer to all their query of myth and repressed emotions. On the other hand, one can also argue on the emotional side as said by Clara that maybe its because it prevents other people from getting hurt, proving to the point at which in the movie, while interviewing a porn actor whose sexual conquest included animals and younger adolescence, reveals a darker side to such exposure. Luckily with such political and heavy theme, the dialog, storyline and humor of the movie manages to make its flow bearable and easier to swallow.

As far as acting is concerned, Condon couldn’t have found a stronger cast if he tried. In the title role, Liam Neeson is nothing short of superb. His lesser performances are few and far between; his portrayal of Dr. Kinsey is warm-hearted and eccentric, dedicated and a little weird. Although in the beginning I felt no attachment towards Neeson’s character, it is only until Kinsey’s unforeseen decline with bad reviews on his women’s book and scandalous gossip spreading rapidly that I found myself rooting for him. In the realm of supporting actors, there hasn’t been a more qualified contender. As the doctor's initially mousy, eventually liberated wife, Laura Linney adds yet another fantastic (Oscar maybe?) performance to her resume. Not forgetting Peter Sarsgaard as the elusive and sexually ambiguous Clyde Martin. The movie may pique your interest solely because of the sexy subject matter, but this is no leering and corrupted creation. In an era when every TV channel is overladen with heaving hooters and jiggling butt-cheeks, this film is a quaint, warm, compelling, and heartfelt biography. If Dr. Kinsey were alive to see just how prevalent human sexuality has become in our culture, he might feel a small pang of disappointment at how low we've sunk. But it's tough not to admire a guy who sought to remedy such a huge and unacceptable chunk of human ignorance, and Bill Condon is to be commended for his well-conceived and wholly entertaining tribute to the unjustly dismissed Dr. Kinsey.

Movie Rating: A

Review by our columnist Lokman B.S.

  Publicity Stills of "Kinsey" (Courtesy from Shaw)
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