Kinsey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kinsey Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 17, 2012
The start of the sexual revolution for the hoi polloi begins when an obscure researcher opts to go the populist route and to give 'em what they want. Ahhh, but there may be some consequence ... not bad if a little slow.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2007
Great acting, some really fun moments. It's not going to rock your world, but it might nudge it a little.
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2011
A biographical film concerning the findings, research, and life of Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a zoologist and entomologist who turned his attention to the science of sex when the nation was still knee deep in the Cold War. Kinsey opened the American public up to a great deal of factual information that changed lives, saved others, and put a brighter light on human biological functions, making it obvious to general speculation that all of us are equally normal, and different at the same time. The film explores the revelations of Kinsey, and the steps he took from simply studying animal behavior, to the unheard of concept of sexual research. None of it broaches on especially scandalous in modern eyes, but the chasm between Kinsey, his wife, his children, and his research team becomes increasingly apparent. He only wants to study and catalogue a taboo topic, and his glaring clarity on the subject subjugates him from his son, who only wants to be seen as normal. His wife and constant companion is all too accommodating with his decisions to experiment, and goes along with everything in a supportive manner. Kinsey only speaks of his subject and that seems to be the extent of his conversational skills, driving him away from human contact, which is the sole way he seems to find pleasure in life. The increasing trials of the House on Un-American Activities Committee, a strain on funds, and a shunning from any scientific field or public interest derails him further. The choice of cast was superb: Liam Neeson, though burdened by an accent he can't misplace, was so stoic and brave in his portrayal, that he completed a vision of a man bridled with his own inequalities and social misgivings. Linney provides another role of a woman with a lot on her mind, but little in the way of showing it. The choice to include great character actors such as Timothy Hutton, Dylan Baker, and Oliver Platt really pulled everything together, since each took their role to heart and fleshed out their characters. It was interesting look into American repression during the fifties, and an examination of whether sex is based on love, pleasure, or is in fact a scientific field to be explored without emotional attachment.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2009
The biographical story of Alfred Kinsey, the trail blazing scientist who, in 1948, shocked the world with his sensational book "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male". The film recounts his extraordinary journey from obscurity to notoriety with graphic detail.

It's hard to overstate Kinsey's impact on American culture. While I agree that his contributions are beyond significant and that his is a story worth telling, I still have far too many inhibitions to be objective in my review of this explicit and controversial movie. Kinsey the film, much like Kinsey the man, is sometimes disturbing but always interesting.
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2006
Depicting the true life events of Alfred Kinsey and his famously publicised sex studies that would cause much debate across America during the 1940?s.

Good parts played by Neeson, Linney and O?Donnell and thought in particular the make up envolving the aging of the characters were done particularly well.

A tale with perhaps an underlying moral, that was quite a controversial story of it?s time.
Super Reviewer
½ June 17, 2006
This biopic tells the story of Alfred Kinsey who revolutionized people's views on human sexuality with his surveys and books. The film follows his studies and his personal life quite closely but not without a certain neutral distance. The cast is full of great names, all delivering excellent performances in a script full of humor and humanity. Entertaining and interesting even for people not familiar with his work, in short: just the way a biography should be like.
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2008
Not just great dialogue delivery but nuanced silent LOOKS. Missing a star because (and I normally don't judge a movie based on how I feel about a character but seeing as this is a biopic on a real person, please indulge me) of Kinsey's hypocrisy toward the "prudery" of his own son and subsets of the population. His intolerance for opinions less liberated than his own negates the true freethinking philosophy. Assuming that this facet was rigorously researched and not just written in for irony...
Super Reviewer
½ June 27, 2007
As a very liberal person, living in a very liberal country, I sure enjoyed the story of this film. It's main theme, revolving around human sexuality and one man's quest to research and and revolutionize said field with the help of science, was very intriguing indeed, especially as the story is based on real events. Great performance as well by Liam Neeson and the supporting cast.
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2007
Fabulous portrait of an obsessed scientist, spanning the career of real-life Professor Kinsey, the pioneering "sex doctor".
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2007
Neeson and Scarsgard are great.
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2007
Intelligent biopic which cleverly captures the crusade of one scientist to bring some rationality into the world of sex. Liam Neeson is stunning as the driven protagonist but is matched scene for scene by the ever reliable Laura Linney. Illustrates better than any film I've seen the struggle of scientific rationale to overcome societal superstition and suspicion.
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2006
How could you botch a movie with solid-gold subject matter like this? Neeson once threatened to retire from making movies. Then he did THE HAUNTING . . . Nuff said.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2013
Man, as if the kiss of death wasn't kind of awkward seeming enough, Francis Ford Coppola is back to co-produce this delightful, family-friendly tale about a bunch of bi guys talking about more than just kissing. Oh, it's pretty much the same thing, because Liam Neeson is so awesome that he could probably kill a man with a kiss... and I, you know, mean that in a totally manly, heterosexual sort of way, though I'm kind of doubtful that Chris O'Donnell would mean it in the same way. O'Donnell might not be playing gay in this film, but "Batman & Robin" was pretty fruity, and O'Donnell still has the audacity to be in this film about a bisexual pioneer of sexology the same year he makes a guest appearance on "Two and a Half Men" as a woman who becomes a man, so either the man's trying to tell us a little something-something, or the reason why he was in this film a year before "Batman Begins" came out (Pun not intended) was because he wanted to meet Ra's al Ghul before Bruce Wayne. Speaking of which, Neeson is such a convincing actor that he must have anticipated that people would assume that he was bisexual after this film, which is why 2005 was his big year to show off just how manly he is with roles that included Batman's trainer in "Batman Begins", a lion god in "The Chronicles of Narnia", a warrior baron in "Kingdom of Heaven" and the priest of... a transvestite Cillian Murphy in "Breakfast on Pluto". Okay, well, on the whole, Neeson's film choices in after this one weren't all that fruity, and I wish I could say the same thing about Bill Condon's film choices, because he earned acclaim for this LGBT film and "Gods and Monsters", and somewhere along the way, he ended up doing the last two "Twilight" films. Well, at least Condon knocked out a couple of good gay films, including this one, and yet, with that said, this film stands to be more "fabulous", and no just because its main character is only half-gay.

There's not a whole lot of meat to this biopic, so a runtime that falls just short of two hours sounds perfectly reasonable, and as sure as sunshine, the final product is pretty tight in plenty of places, yet there are plenty of points where that tightness slips, and the ensuing unevenness in pacing is mighty disconcerting, with slow moments being rarely, if ever dull, but rather cold and aimless, with a certain blandness and sense of repetition that, before too long, distances your attention as surely as the relatively hurried spells go so far as to dilute your investment. An arguably more recurring extreme in problematic moments in pacing, hurrying is often easy to miss, as it often feels too intentional to be all that detrimental to the tightness that perhaps still stands firm on the whole, but when briskness in momentum really gets carried away, there's no missing it, as it thins out moments of exposition and occasionally simply throws you off with its slapdashing the progression in this telling of a man's life and times. Pacing inconsistency doesn't really sound like a big deal, but this film is so tight in plenty of areas that the fair deal of occasions in which that tightness lapses are glaring, and yet, outside of pacing issues, not much is consequentially wrong with this film, thus the biggest issues with the final product are natural ones. The film would not be as good as it ultimately very much is if it didn't have an intriguing story, so there's certainly a good bit of meat on the bones upon which this project is built, yet only so much, as the characters are kind of bland, the narrative is kind of aimless and the conflict is pretty thin, never to where you completely fall out of this character study, but certainly to where you end up with a final product that was never to pick up too much momentum, though would have at least stood a chance if its execution didn't also fail to pick up all that much momentum. Director Bill Condon is clearly inspired with his handling of this reasonably intriguing project, as reflected in his sustaining a fair bit of compellingness and often delivering on the occasionally major pick-up in atmospheric kick, but on the whole, the atmospheric structure that he builds around this execution of a somewhat thin story concept, while sharp, rarely shifts, especially if you disregard the inconsistencies within a pacing that most definitely changes, and jarringly so, thus leaving storytelling's focus to meander along a relatively straightforward course and gradually lose momentum as it falls slave to the aforementioned natural shortcomings. I must admit, the film starts out subtly, but undeniably very strong, and I found myself very excited to see the directions Condon would take this tale, but Condon ultimately barely does much with this promising, if natural blemished opus, thus I grew too used to the feel of the film to ignore the pacing problems and natural issues which, while not enough to shake the film out of a rewarding state, leave the final product to lose the strength it seemed to have a firm grasp on early on. That being said, the fact of the matter is that this film has strong high points to break up consistent compellingness, which goes challenged time and again, but ultimately powers on upon the shoulders of sharpness, even in the musical department.

Pacing unevenness is perhaps the most frequent and is certainly the most noticeable form of inconsistency within this film, but if nothing else is tainted with unevenness, then it is, of all things, the prominence of Carter Burwell's score, which will be pretty well-focused upon for long periods of time, then dropped for the sake of moderately lengthy dry, or at least quieter spells, yet is prominent enough throughout the film for you to kind of get used to it and not appreciate as you would like to, which isn't to say that Burwell's efforts aren't still highly commendable, having a certain classical soul, bonded tightly with a sense of narrative structure that flavors up both the entertainment value and resonance of this film with many a lovely composition, a fair deal of which are quite memorable. Outside of the occasional decent moment in Frederick Elmes' cinematography, as well as nifty stylistic choices charged by director Bill Condon that I'll touch more upon later, there's really not much to this film's artistic value beyond the unevenly used and occasionally underwhelming score, but the high points in Burwell's musical efforts are truly heights within the artistic tastefulness that reflects of the final product's sharpness, which is, of course, most reflect in Bill Condon's script. Condon, even as screenwriter, doesn't keep kick to the structure of this film as dynamic as it needs to be in order for all that much strength to be sustained, but on the whole, his script is nothing if not impressive, having a certain audacious attention to the grimy details of this decidedly mature drama that may be pretty discomforting to many audience members, but reflects a lack of fear in storytelling that reinforces a sense of brightness, further reinforced by sharp dialogue and witty humor that punch up the mood, while generally thoughtful expository depth establish the mood. On paper, alone, Condon delivers on plenty of commendable beats for every moderate shortcoming, and when it comes to Condon's directorial execution of his written interpretation of the story of Alfred Kinsey, there are certainly more errors, so much so that too much steam is lost for considerable strength to be achieved like it could have been and almost is, but do note that the main reason why the film comes close to high strength in the first place is because of what Condon does very well as storyteller, playing with anything from atmospheric kick to even the snappiness of Virginia Katz's editing in order to keep liveliness up about as much as he can, while having his share of moments in which he steadies down to meditate upon the depth of this story and deliver on compellingness, maybe even a height in what resonance there can be in a film this thin. Natural shortcomings dictate that Condon was never to be able to carry this film too far, and hiccups in Condon's directorial efforts ultimately solidify the final product as not as strong as it seemingly wants to be, but on the whole, this is still an intriguing story, and Condon's execution is nothing if not fairly well-done, breathing a life into this study on a human who made a living studying humans that is pretty compelling, especially when backed by compelling acting. Considering the thinness of this subject matter, there's not a whole lot of acting material, which is unfortunate, considering the blandness within certain key characters, but this is still a talented cast, from which plenty of people have his or time to shine, though perhaps never as much as our leads, Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, who share electric chemistry and are both impressive by their own right, with Linney being about as convincing as a loving wife who grows to be disturbed by her husband's questionable lifestyle as the exceedingly charming Neeson is as Alfred Kinsey, an eccentric and brilliant visionary, but one with flaws and layers that Neeson effortlessly plays up with a human inspiration that makes Kinsey a compelling force through all of the conceptually bland areas to his portrayal in this film. Neeson proves to be a particularly engaging force in this film, but really, he's certainly not the only one, because while the film loses too much steam for its own good after a while, it never loses so much momentum that it loses your investment, keeping you both entertained and compelled to reward as flawed, but thoroughly intriguing.

In closing, inconsistent pacing leaves the film to dance between aimless slow spells and depth-thinning hurrying, while a considerable natural thinness to this minimalist drama, emphasized by a certain laziness in storytelling that keeps atmospheric kick from being as dynamic as it should be, leaves the final product to fall short of strong, but not so short that reward value cannot be achieved through the good score work, sharp writing, generally effective direction and compelling performances - particularly those of Laura Linney and Liam Neeson - that make "Kinsey" an intriguing and generally worthwhile ode to a man who defined modern views on human sexuality.

3/5 - Good
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2011
Many regard Kinsey as a disturbed individual, and have criticized the film for its' overly positive representation of him, when in actuality many of his findings or theories are still dubious today. I can see where they're coming from. But as an overall film, it pretty much works. Liam Neeson is fantastic on playing Kinsey as an obsessed, passionate, and oddly disconnected man. Though the movie did sometimes feel clunky or slow, it managed to hit on the major points one would expect, and did so effectively. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Kinsey and and his wife, which I thought was very well done. The dynamics of his coworkers, however, were not as effective, with some characters being underwritten.
Super Reviewer
April 11, 2010
Odd but intriguing look at the life of Alfred Kinsey and his boundary pushing work on human sexual behaviour. Shocking even now, I imagine that Kinsey absolutely floored his contemporaries in the 1950s.
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2009
A strong argument in favor of the standard biopic, showing that with the right cast, strong dialogue, and a worthy subject you can make the genre engaging. This has to be Liam Neeson's best performance.
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2011
No doubt a good movie, but it felt a little uneven. What would this have been like as a comedy? I see potential there.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2007
Intensely interesting, Kinsey is the biography of the man who cast a whole new perspective on sexuality. The film is both enlightening with respect to the man and his subject. It doesn't shy away from the darkness of the material, and it doesn't bother with any pretext that Kinsey was a saint. He gives little regard to any potential meaning sex can have-instead of focusing purely on socially surpressed sexual activity. There's a tricky, ultimately successful scene where he interviews a guy who masturbates (and ejaculates in 10 seconds O_O ) that I found very disturbing. And it wasn't even because of the sudden, public masterbation. *shivers*

This is a solid 4 star film.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2007
Fascinating biopic of university researcher Arthur Kinsey, who for much of his adult life, documented the sexual histories of men and women. Kinsey's revolutionary research showed that sexual acts such as masturbation and oral sex, as well as homosexuality and bisexuality, previously considered 'perverse' or 'deviant' (or even harmful), were in fact far more common than thought, . Ahead of his time in a sexually repressed society where the majority considered, or were thought to consider, that only marital sex (primarily for purposes of reproduction) could be considered moral, the film Kinsey shows how his research opened people up to talk about and explore their own sexuality, but also shows a fundamentally flawed (and real) person. Kinsey's initial belief that sexual urges should be explored and should not be connected to feelings of emotional attachment, or love, does not hold up; when he explores a same sex relationship with Clyde (a nicely subtle performance from Peter Sarsgaard) which he then confesses to his wife Clara (Laura Linney), it appears he doesn't understand why it hurts her feelings - it's just sex afterall. Only later, when he overhears Clyde confess to Clara that he is becoming disinterested in the sexual relationship, does it register to Kinsey what his wife had meant, as very briefly, we see that Kinsey is also hurt. It's a telling moment, and very well acted. Later, the film shows Kinsey's rise and inevitable fall, and though he never fully recovers from the backlash, his ever understanding wife sticks by him - the overriding message seems to be that love is what matters most. Kinsey is not without its faults - the ageing makeup is unconvincing and it doesn't really feel that 15 years worth of research elapses. The sequence involving superimposed talking heads on a map of the States goes on for too long, and some of the supporting characters don't have enough depth or screen time to care about. But overall, this film, shot in just 37 days, is excellent and sensitively handled.
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