- Bill Condon
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Monday, February 07, 2005
The movie chronicles the life of Dr. Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson), from his constraint childhood marked by his overly conservative father (John Lithgow) to his final days as a very well known personality, loved by some and hated by others. Dr. Kinsey, a biologist, married Clara (Laura Linney), a fellow student, who supported him while he became fascinated with sex. With the help of a research team, he was able to compound two very controversial books: “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” and “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female”. But being the times that it were, the task was just not easy…
Kinsey is successful in many aspects. But writer/director Bill Condon’s biggest success lies in the fact that he was able to pretty much tell all of the Doctor’s story and in the way transforming it in a tale full of heart, passion and determination. Not only that, but it is also extremely entertaining, mainly because it is so well directed, written and edited. The movie has such a natural flow to it that its creators make it seem really easy.
Dr. Kinsey was a fascinating subject, whether you agreed with him or not. He had a difficult childhood, then moved on still with his father’s shadow on his back. But he was a man with a vision. He was intrigued by certain insects and studied them to a point of obsession. But then he realized, after a bad wedding night experience of his own, just how uninformed young people were at the time about sex. And not just sex, but every single sexual aspect. So he then changed his attention to something entirely difficult and didn’t let go, not till the end of his days.
His contributions opened the eyes of an entire nation, but he had to fight for it. And even then the reaction was not always nice, so he had to fight against that as well. He and his researchers specialized in capturing people’s sexual history. They interviewed as many people as they could and used their stories as research material. Throughout the movie there’s shocking imagery, but even more shocking dialogue. It could even be unpleasant for some, but I thought it was refreshing, just as the people in the movie that Dr. Kinsey is trying to teach.
I also enjoyed very much the relationship between the Doctor and his wife. They surely complemented each other. He was rather cold and science-obsessed, and she was certainly intelligent as well, but rather the heart of the relationship and, for that matter, of the movie.
As performances go, Liam Neeson delivers his usual excellent performance as the title character. He is extraordinary at every turn, whether showing his strong or tenderer sides. Meanwhile, Laura Linney is nothing short of astonishing in an understated performance of huge proportions. Peter Sarsgaard, Chris O’Donnell, Timothy Hutton, Oliver Platt, John Lithgow and Lynn Redgrave are all uniformly great.
An impressive achievement...
“Sex is a risky game, because if you're not careful, it will cut you wide open.”
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