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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.03%
Worth A Look49.46%
Just Average: 10.75%
Pretty Crappy: 6.45%
Sucks: 4.3%

11 reviews, 27 user ratings

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by Elaine Perrone

"Once upon a time, many people thought 'oral sex' meant talking about it."
5 stars

SCREENED AT SEATTLE'S GUILD 45TH THEATRE, NOVEMBER 6, 2004. SCREENING ATTENDED BY DIRECTOR-SCREENWRITER BILL CONDON. Given the enormous pool of talent involved in the making of Kinsey, both in front of the camera and behind it, I went in to the screening expecting that there might be an Academy Award contender or two among them. What I didn't at all anticipate was how utterly entertaining this bio-pic about Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the study of human sexual behavior, would turn out to be -- or that there is a very real chance that each and every one of the principals, and the picture itself, could make a clean sweep of the Oscars, come February 27, 2005.

Director-screenwriter Bill Condon's (Gods and Monsters) brilliantly crafted script is riveting from start to finish, by turns informative, infuriating, shocking, poignant, and outright hilarious. Liam Neeson is marvelous in a beautifully nuanced performance as the fascinating and eccentric "Prok" (short for Professor Kinsey), as is Laura Linney in the role of his free-thinking wife, Clara McMillan, affectionately known as Mac.

Born in 1894, Alfred Kinsey was the son of an evangelical Methodist minister (played with relish by John Lithgow) who decried from the pulpit such sinful behavior as dancing and such wicked inventions as the zipper, a diabolical device that gave young people "speedy access" to each other. Defying his father's wish that he become an engineer, Alfred instead turned to science, eventually becoming a professor of zoology at Indiana University, specializing in the mating habits of gall wasps. When, as newlyweds, Prok and Mac found themselves to be sexually incompatible -- a problem easily resolved that turned them into delighted sexual adventurers -- Kinsey turned his attention to biology and human sexuality, about which he found the general populace to be woefully ignorant. Recruiting a team of researchers -- and withstanding the wrath of the Religious Right and the efforts of his fellow educators and even the FBI to discredit him -- he and his team criss-crossed the country interviewing literally thousands of people about their sexual habits, which resulted, in 1948, in the publication of his wildly popular book, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," which became a best-seller the world over. When Kinsey turned his attention to female sexuality, the controversy swirling around him increased, and he eventually lost the funding of the Rockefeller Foundation, which had sponsored him. Still, his second book, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female," made the best-seller lists, as well, and he was able to use the royalties from both books to continue his research.

The entire supporting cast of Kinsey is stellar, with a few particular standouts.

The always-welcome Peter Sarsgaard is terrific as Clyde Martin, one of the Kinsey team of researchers, a bisexual who enters into an affair with Prok and also beds Mac. (For those keeping statistics, Sarsgaard joins the short -- no pun intended -- list, along with Ewan McGregor in Young Adam and M.C. Gainey in Sideways, of those actors who have Let It All Hang Out this year.)

Best known as Dr. Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry plays hilariously against type here as Dr. Thurman Rice, a staid teacher of "hygiene," as sex education was quaintly known in those days.

William Sadler is chilling as a pansexual describing the pleasure he derives from pedophilia, stretching to the limits of its tolerance Kinsey's demand that his researchers be non-judgmental -- and stretching to its breaking point the tolerance of researcher Wardell Pomeroy (Chris O'Donnell). Oh, and O'Donnell also has an hilarious scene in which he learns the value of listening HARD to a man with a thick accent before jumping to a conclusion about that man's first sexual encounter.

Perhaps most touching of all is Lynn Redgrave, whose lovely monologue at the film's end bestows upon it a closing grace note that moved me to tears and may (should), even for its brevity, earn her a Supporting Actress nomination.

The release of Kinsey in the U.S. couldn't be more timely, with the current administration's withdrawal of funding for sexual research and the attempted discreditation of the man and his work by the Religious Right that continues to this day. Ironically, Kinsey was released by Fox Searchlight, the independent studio arm of Rupert Murdoch's empire -- reason enough to buy a ticket to see the film, in my opinion.

That it is a truly wonderful movie is icing on the cake!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10447&reviewer=376
originally posted: 11/10/04 03:45:48
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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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