Let's talk about sex; not an earth-shattering proposition — not anymore, at least not like it used to be. Not like it was before sex pioneer Alfred Kinsey came along and in 1948 irrevocably changed American culture with his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.
Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) brings us Kinsey, a portrait of the man who was driven to remove the sheets from off the most private secrets of a nation.
Well-deserving of the rumored Academy Award nomination, LIAM NEESON stars as Alfred Kinsey, the Harvard-educated zoologist whose passion for gall wasps takes a turn when he meets and marries the witty, free-thinking Clara McMillen (LAURA LINNEY) and realizes that there's more to life then wasps. In the course of his teaching, Prof. Kinsey, or Prok (as his students call him), discovers an astonishing dearth of scientific data on sexual behaviour. When students begin to seek him out for advice about sex, he realizes that no one has compiled the clinical research to yield reliable, 'scientifically proven' answers to their questions. Thus inspired to explore the emotionally charged subject of sex from a strictly scientific point of view, Kinsey recruits a team of researchers, including Clyde Martin (PETER SARSGAARD), Wardell Pomeroy (CHRIS O'DONNELL) and Paul Gebhard (TIMOTHY HUTTON), and is soon not only interviewing subjects about their sexual histories, but is observing and experimenting sex himself.
Condon has made all the right decisions and executed them perfectly: his choice of cast, his scenes – all relevant and effective -, and his ability to both chronicle the life of Kinsey while also entertaining a story. I left the theatre feeling I knew more about Kinsey then when I walked in, but I never once felt I was being preached at or watching a stiff A&E style biography.
Perhaps most flattering of all is Condon's refusal to sell himself short by taking the topic of sex and doing what I suspect most other directors would have done: crammed in as may hot and heavy sex scenes as possible. Condon knows what to show, when to show it, how to show it and — what I deem to be the sign of a truly brilliant director–knows just as well what NOT to show and when NOT to show it. There is a beautiful scene in which a lonely Kinsey sits at his microscope surrounded by thousands of gall wasp specimens –yet without the one women he has fallen in love with which will truly make you understand Condon's brilliance.
An engaging, sometimes funny, other times shocking look at the life, times, and hurdles of a very important figure. It's worth talking about! This DVD is available in two versions, single disc version and two-Disc Special Edition version with a few more bells and whistles.
Commentary with writer/director Bill Condon
The Kinsey Report: Sex on Film
20 deleted scenes plus alternative ending with optional commentary by Bill Condon
Sex Ed at the Kinsey Institute
Interactive Sex Questionnaire