210 user 192 critic

Kinsey (2004)

2:37 | Trailer
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.


Bill Condon


Bill Condon
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Liam Neeson ... Alfred Kinsey
Laura Linney ... Clara McMillen
Chris O'Donnell ... Wardell Pomeroy
Peter Sarsgaard ... Clyde Martin
Timothy Hutton ... Paul Gebhard
John Lithgow ... Alfred Seguine Kinsey
Tim Curry ... Thurman Rice
Oliver Platt ... Herman Wells
Dylan Baker ... Alan Gregg
Julianne Nicholson ... Alice Martin
William Sadler ... Kenneth Braun
John McMartin ... Huntington Hartford
Veronica Cartwright ... Sara Kinsey
Kathleen Chalfant ... Barbara Merkle
Heather Goldenhersh ... Martha Pomeroy
Learn more

More Like This 

The Savages (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.

Director: Tamara Jenkins
Stars: Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely seen younger brother returns to town.

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Laura Linney, Matthew Broderick, Amy Ryan
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The last days of Frankenstein (1931) Director James Whale are explored.

Director: Bill Condon
Stars: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave
The Big C (2010–2013)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A suburban mother faces her cancer diagnosis while trying to find humor and happiness as well.

Stars: Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso
The Grey (2011)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.

Director: Joe Carnahan
Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History, from Glass Entertainment Group and Rearrange TV, is a six-part CNN Original Series that goes inside the Vatican to reveal the true power held by ... See full summary »

Stars: Liam Neeson, Alexandru Aldea, Mark P Galbraith
The Other Man (2008)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The story of a husband who suspects his wife of adultery, and sets out to track down the other man in her life.

Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas, Laura Linney
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Director: George Clooney
Stars: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson
In America (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Djimon Hounsou
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of a controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl (1957).

Director: Simon Curtis
Stars: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh
Milk I (2008)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The story of Harvey Milk and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch


Called "Prok" as an adult (short for Professor Kinsey), Alfred Kinsey, Jr. (Liam Neeson) has been interested in biology since he was a child growing up in the early twentieth century, despite the criticisms of such being evil nonsense from his overbearing and devoutly Christian father, Professor Alfred Seguine Kinsey (John Lithgow). 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 (Laura Linney) (whom 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... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Let's talk about sex.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive sexual content, including some graphic images and descriptions | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


On the DVD commentary, Writer and Director Bill Condon revealed that he wanted to include, in a montage, a clip from I Love Lucy (1951), in which a character makes a joking reference to Dr. Alfred Kinsey's research. Condon says that he was unable to use the clip, because Lucie Arnaz (the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) denied him the rights, offering very little explanation, aside from claiming that her parents would never allow themselves to be associated with Kinsey. See more »


Kinsey is talking with reporters upon arriving in New York and his dialogue does not match up with the shot of him. See more »


[first lines]
Alfred Kinsey: Don't sit so far away. Anything that creates a distance should be avoided.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Lindy Hop
Written by Linda Martinez
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
See more »

User Reviews

Enjoy the performances of Liam Neeson and Laura Linney
26 December 2004 | by NoArrowSee all my reviews

Liam Neeson is a terrific actor, and Dr. Alfred Kinsey is his character. After seeing "Kinsey" I can't imagine anyone else better for the role. People usually say that, I know, but you couldn't possibly imagine anyone else playing the part, ever. I think Neeson has a strong chance at winning an Oscar this year; as does Laura Linney, playing Kinsey's wife, a terrifically kind, warm woman trying to keep up with Kinsey's life, which moves along pretty fast. Too fast for her at times. These two performances are awesome, two of the actors' best, the Academy, and every other awards show, would have to be insane not to mention them.

Unfortunately, I don't think the rest of the movie is really up to par with the performances. Not to say it's bad, just that it fails to really interest us when Neeson or Linney aren't on screen (which, fortunately, doesn't happen much). The movie is about Alfred Kinsey, who pioneered the research on human sexuality. Neeson shows him as a strong man, but one with as many flaws as the gall wasps he collected, all buried deep beneath his drive and focus.

Kinsey's studies proved some things, and let a lot of homosexuality and other deviances from the norm at the time out into the open. I'd just like to say that I agree with some of his studies, I like that he unlocked the way uptight supposed "morality" of the masses think that any sexual behavior other than the missionary position is both unhealthy and immoral. How they thought that I don't know, but I admire Kinsey for proving them wrong. Other things I do not agree with, like Kinsey's studies on the time it takes really young children to reach orgasm…and Kinsey's way of thinking that sex on its basic level should have no emotional attachment; I think I can say that these things are ethically wrong without feeling ignorant.

But I won't be biased against the quality of the film because of this. I will speak of the technique of how it was made: the writing, the directing, etc. I liked how the movie began: with a black and white practice interview between Kinsey, his wife Clara, and their students. It is inter-cut with scenes from Kinsey's youth: Kinsey facing temptation with masturbation, and having trouble with his insanely strict father (John Lithgow).

Lithgow's first scene, where he speaks of the temptation and evil caused by zippers, electricity and ice cream parlors is the film's first problem. It doesn't show both sides of Kinsey's argument, it merely dismisses Lithgow – and those like him – as a laughing stock, instead of considering any validity in points that they're making.

This problem is carried throughout the movie, and Lithgow is seen as such a monster that we feel no sympathy for his character in a later scene showing his inner weakness and tragic past, the scene feels thrown in and very foreign to the rest of the movie.

I think the opening scenes, with Kinsey and Clara first falling for each other, and his proposal and collection of gall wasps, are the movie's best, I believe. Once Kinsey starts his research on sex I think the movie becomes a bit conventional. We get the usual scenes such as Kinsey alienated from his family, Kinsey receiving trouble from his financial backers, Clara feeling alienated from Kinsey, and so on. Of course, most of the time we watch eagerly, because Neeson and Linney are awesome, but we still have that itching feeling that the film isn't as special as Ebert says.

What I mean is, after decades of biopics, especially this year; a biopic has to be more than conventional. Unless the lead character is amazing and extremely watchable, like in "Ray", the film needs to show us something new. I mean, when you see a biopic, you pretty much know the lead is going be alienated from his family, obsessed with his work and full of inner demons. So give us something else, please.

Problems also arise with the introduction of Kinsey's staff, including bisexual Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard), Wardell Pomeroy (Chris O'Donnell) and Paul Gebhart (Timothy Hutton). The problem is, we hardly know any of these characters, so we are bored when they get into arguments because we don't feel that we know anything about them. When we find out that Martin is bisexual it comes as a surprise, but we react with a shrug. Sarsgaard's performance is surprisingly flat; that he's getting any buzz for awards surprises me.

I'm giving the movie a seven simply because of the professionalism Neeson and Linney display on screen. They are the acting pros; they wash the floor with the rest of the cast. The Academy voters will all be struck by lightning if either isn't mentioned. So see it for them, and about the rest, well, shrug.


31 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 210 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Fox Searchlight


USA | Germany



Release Date:

7 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kinsey See more »

Filming Locations:

Bloomfield, New Jersey, USA See more »


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$169,038, 14 November 2004

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Recently Viewed