Writer/Director: Bill Condon
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 14th March 2005
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 23rd June 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
A film that was critically acclaimed when it came out, I decided to give it a look to see what all the fuss was about. As I recall, it didn’t do too well at the box office and so I wasn’t surprised to find it tucked away on a late-night showing on a Sunday night. A film I found put me through a whole set of emotions and one that I’m sure will make the audience ask questions of themselves as well. But I digress, here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Alfred Kinsey was an entomologist (a scientist who specialises in insects) who had spent twenty years on an exhaustive study of a particular species of wasp. One day some students, a married couple, come to ask his advice on a problem of a sexual nature. He does his best to answer them but, having only recently married himself, felt frustrated that he didn’t have all the answers. He decides to conduct his own study and the bulk of the film concentrates on this study and the effect it has on him and those around him. I don’t want to say too much more, just that the film very much concentrates on Kinsey and those around him, the content of the study is only touched on, so if you were expecting something maybe a little more explicit then you may be disappointed.
Well made, although I did feel it came over as a bit of a ‘by the numbers’ biopic. Having said that there were some very good performances on show, particularly from Liam Neeson as Albert Kinsey, Laura Linney as Clara McMillen (his wife) and, in a smaller role, John Lithgow as his overbearing father, Alfred Seguine Kinsey. Also worthy of note were; Chris O'Donnell as Wardell Pomeroy, Peter Sarsgaard as Clyde Martin, Timothy Hutton as Paul Gebhard, Tim Curry as Thurman Rice and Oliver Platt as Herman Wells.
Although there’s no denying the impact the work that Kinsey did had on modern society, I felt the film was a bit of a let-down. It did have its moments of sentimentality, but there was much more that I couldn’t connect with. I guess because I never really connected with any of the main characters. The start is quite slow and ponderous but it does pick up through the middle third; by the third act I felt it had lost focus again. During the process of compiling his data Kinsey explores his own sexuality and in showing this (I believe) the filmmakers made a big mistake. After that I found it hard to take the him seriously I’m afraid and, although they do try to separate sex and love; and fail miserably; the film never really did enough to redeem itself. Worth a look, up to a point, but be warned; some of you may find some of it hard to swallow (in more ways than one).
IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 28,156 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 90/100: (Based on 189 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 79/100 (based on 40 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 73/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 32,388 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Clyde Martin: When did you first begin masturbating?
Old Woman: I INVENTED it, son.
Alfred Kinsey: [Kinsey is teaching his first class] Who can tell me which part of the human body can enlarge a hundred times. You, miss?
Female Student: [indignantly] I'm sure I don't know. And you've no right to ask me such a question in a mixed class.
Alfred Kinsey: [amused] I was referring to the pupil in your eye, young lady.
Alfred Kinsey: And I think I should tell you, you're in for a terrible disappointment.
Wardell Pomeroy: How old were you when you first engaged in sexual activity with a partner?
Research Subject: 14.
Wardell Pomeroy: How?
Research Subject: With horse.
Wardell Pomeroy: [pause] How often were you having intercourse with animals at age 14?
Research Subject: [stunned] It's true. I fucked a pony. You are genius, how did you know?
Wardell Pomeroy: You just said you had
Wardell Pomeroy: sex with horse.
Research Subject: Nooo... Whores, not horse, *whores*.
Clyde Martin: Just one more question. You've just told me your entire history: childhood, family, career, every person you've ever had sex with. But there hasn't been a single mention of love.
Alfred Kinsey: That's because it's impossible to measure love. And, as you know, without measurements there can be no science. But I have been thinking a lot about the problem lately.
Clyde Martin: Mmh, "problem"?
Alfred Kinsey: When it comes to love, we're all in the dark.
Clyde Martin: So, you do think it matters?
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/kinsey/