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11 reviews, 27 user ratings

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by Peter Sobczynski

"Not just a glossed-over version of the Good Parts"
5 stars

Alfred Kinsey would seem to be a fairly unlikely subject for a biopic-essentially, all he did was sit around and take notes while other people talked about the fun they were having. However, at a time when it appears that voters in the recent election were more concerned with morality and sexuality (especially if they didn’t specifically mesh with their own views) than with the war and the economy, perhaps this is the perfect time for such a film-one that could show us just how much things have changed and, ironically, just how much thing have remained the same. The result is “Kinsey”, one of the year’s most fascinating films and one as timely as the likes of “Fahrenheit 9/11”.

As the doctor, Liam Neeson is simply brilliant as the nebbishy biologist who finds himself teaching at Indiana University and discovers to his surprise that there is almost no scientific research or data on the subject of sexuality beyond “Don’t Do It!”. His solution was simple and brilliant-he would approach the volatile subject from a purely clinical point-of-view and develop techniques that would allow him and his fellow interviewers to collect data from subjects in a way that would allow those people to speak freely and openly about things that were previously deemed unspeakable. His results formed the revolutionary best-seller “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” and literally changed the way that Americans looked at the once-taboo subject. Of course, not everyone felt this was a good idea and, as the film shows, he was denounced throughout his career as being a pervert, a fraud and personally responsible for the decline of society. (This attitude continues even today-several evangelical groups have announced plans to protest the release of the film. Hopefully, the good folks at Fox Searchlight will send them a nice Christmas present for boosting the profile of their film.)

Although filled with talk about sex of every conceivable variety (and, in one spooky sequence involving an aging lech, played fearlessly by William Sadler, eagerly spilling the dark details of his sexual history, the inconceivable as well), “Kinsey” is surprising because, unlike most American movies on the subject, it treats sexuality in much the same way that Kinsey did-as a serious subject worth considering and not as a subject for smutty humor or salaciousness. More importantly, writer-director Bill Condon (whose previous film was the equally unconventional biopic “Gods and Monsters”) doesn’t try to gloss over the material to make it more savory (in the way that Milos Forman shied away from the less-savory material in Larry Flynt’s life in “The People Vs. Larry Flynt” and turned it into a First Amendment saga); he has enough respect for the intelligence of the audience to allow them to think about the genuine impact of Kinsey and his work for themselves. Filled with a lot of humor (there is one priceless scene in which Kinsey’s astonishingly liberated, for the most part, family sits at the dinner table and calmly discusses subjects that would mortify most people even in a non-family surrounding), a surprisingly quick pace and a lot of good performances (in addition to Neeson, the film contains nice turns from Laura Linney, Timothy Hutton, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris O’Donnell and John Lithgow), “Kinsey” is that rarest of films-a smart and thoughtful biopic that feels like the authentic chronicle of a life and not just a glossed-over version of the Good Parts.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10447&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/19/04 00:14:49
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/02/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
7/27/07 McGregger TERRIBLE. The acting, script, plot, casting. Bad from top to bottom. 1 stars
7/24/05 SL On-screen sausage due to gay director, but otherwise unecessary 3 stars
6/28/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Peter Sarsgaard naked. 5 stars from me! 5 stars
6/24/05 Mr Fluffy Apparently, Liam Neeson has a rather huge cock. So he tells me. 4 stars
3/30/05 DavidOz V good, suddenly knowing the context made the science live 5 stars
3/26/05 Victor Toledo I liked this film. It did what it set out to do. 5 stars
3/11/05 Nick Boyd Great screenplay and very good acting 5 stars
2/10/05 Liam Neeson? I thought that was Ralph Finnes!! Sex and the shitty. 3 stars
1/29/05 Casey Tells okay 3 stars
1/28/05 buddy garrett Neeson's performance is good but there is nothing else. 3 stars
1/13/05 Neil Pretty good 4 stars
12/30/04 Landshark Breeding for sophisticates beats sex for dummies any day 4 stars
12/05/04 Travis Bickle Movie was a breath of fresh air compared to most movies lately. Not masterpiece but damn... 4 stars
12/04/04 Doreen finally an intelligent movie emerges out of the Hollywood junk 5 stars
12/03/04 Titus Really quite good, but nothing really stellar. 4 stars
11/21/04 Mack Mangham An Oscar for Neeson coming this way. Great movie, great acting 5 stars
11/19/04 Desperado a pervert huh, guess you voted for Bush 5 stars
11/16/04 Naka Oh, shut the hell up Gray. 5 stars
11/11/04 Graham Dr. Reisman is one of the biggest frauds of the past 50 years, and her allegations are bunk 5 stars
11/10/04 Kelly Glorify a PERVERT? No thanks. 1 stars
11/03/04 MMM Shouldn't opinions be based on stellar performances, rather than subject matter? 4 stars
10/30/04 Hugo Haas Smug and campy failure, second half a complete mess 1 stars
10/24/04 Sinick LIES! Kinsey was a child molester & rapist! Read about it from Dr. Reisman or Dr. Makow 1 stars
9/14/04 MM Gonna get Oscar noms for sure 4 stars
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  12-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 17-May-2005



Directed by
  Bill Condon

Written by
  Bill Condon

  Liam Neeson
  Laura Linney
  Peter Sarsgaard
  Chris O'Donnell
  Oliver Platt
  Timothy Hutton

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