A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.
Called Prok as an adult (short for Professor Kinsey), Alfred Kinsey has been interested in biology since he was a child growing up in the early twentieth century, despite the criticisms of such being nonsense from his overbearing and devoutly Christian father, professor Alfred Seguine Kinsey. Prok goes on to become a biology professor at Indiana University, initially focusing on the study of gall wasps. But those studies in combination with questions from his students, coming to terms with the needs of sex with his own wife, a former student of his named Clara McMillen (who he calls Mac), and what he sees as the gross misinformation on the subject currently within popular belief makes him change his focus to human sexuality. Many of those gross untruths - as he sees them - are that oral sex and masturbation cause a slew of maladies, which are perpetuated by what is presented in the university's hygiene class taught by Professor Thurman Rice. With the approval of faculty head Herman ... Written by
At the end of the film (following the main cast credits), a montage featuring Kinsey Institute footage of the mating habits of various animals is accompanied by "Fever" by Little Willie John. See more »
Before Dr. Ruth and the others, there was Dr. Kinsey...
Bill Condon, working with his own material has come out with a movie that serves to illustrate how the work of Dr. Kinsey awoke the American public to a better understanding of their sexuality in ways no one, up to that point, had ever dared to show. As he proved with his other film, "Gods and Monsters", Mr. Condon shows he doesn't mind tackling adult themes, so scarce in the present cinema.
The film is documentary in style, as we are shown the life of Kinsey at different times of his life. He had an unhappy childhood. His father was a tyrant who never really showed love toward him. There are moments when the young Kinsey is shown as boy scout and there is an element of homosexuality that maybe, for fear, never came to the surface, but it's there, nonetheless.
Dr. Kinsey's life takes a turn when he meets, Clara McMillen, who he calls "Mac". It's with her that he begins a life of discovery in the field of human sexuality that was taboo in American colleges and universities at the time. Albert Kinsey was the first one that spoke about the things that were never said in polite company, or in the classroom, up to that moment. His life was dedicated to understand what made human beings act the way they did, never being judgmental, but with a tremendous insight to interpret the data and present it in a comprehensible way.
A puritanical American society reacted strongly against the findings of Dr. Kinsey. He was a man ahead of his times when he decided to gather information about the sex lives of Americans and to publish the results in a best selling book.
As Dr. Kinsey, Liam Neeson, showing an uncanny resemblance to the man, himself, does a wonderful job. He shows a complicated character who was not easily understood by his associates and students. As "Mac", his wife, Laura Linney with a dark wig, gives an articulate performance of Mrs. Kinsey. Both actors are wonderful together, as they have already shown in the New York stage.
Peter Sargaard, as Clyde, Dr. Kinsey's first assistant, shows he is an actor that will amaze from picture to picture. This actor has the ability to get under each of his character's skins to make them real, as is the case with his Clyde. Also, almost unrecognizable, Chris O'Donnell, who plays Wardell, one of the interviewers working with the doctor. Timothy Hutton is Gebhard, the other associate who was instrumental in gathering the information to help complete Dr. Kinsey's report. John Lithgow, as Kinsey Sr. has a fantastic moment with Mr. Neeson, as he agrees to be interviewed, revealing a horrible secret. It's a wonderful moment done with panache by both actors working under exceptional direction.
There is a moment toward the end of the film where we see Lynn Redgrave speaking directly to the camera. It is one of the most effective moments in the film when this woman tells Dr. Kinsey about her life as a lesbian.
Mr. Condon's film clarifies a lot about the genius of Kinsey and his contribution to society.
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