|‘Kinsey’ a substantial theatrical drama
Though not a box-office blockbuster when it was first released, “Kinsey” is still a terrific film for three reasons:
Reason one: Liam Neeson. Known for high-profile roles (like this
summer’s “Batman Begins” and the classic “Schindler’s List”), Neeson is
a charismatic, superb actor who brings Dr. Alfred Kinsey back to life.
Reason two: it’s a great history lesson. How many people really know why Dr. Kinsey did what he did and how he did it?
Reason three: the story of Dr. Kinsey and his book “Sexual Behavior
in the Human Male” is just as relevant now as it was 50 years ago, and
discussions and debates about his findings continue today.
In “Kinsey,” Neeson stars as Dr. Kinsey, who in 1948 created a tidal
wave of media attention that turned society on its head when he
released data about thousands of people’s sexual behavior. Commonly
held theories, values and beliefs were challenged, and the country was
thrown into a passionate debate about human sexual practices. “Kinsey”
chronicles Dr. Kinsey’s journey from relative anonymity studying gall
wasps to worldwide fame after publishing his ground breaking study
produced through 15 years of research. We see glimpses of his
childhood, relive the first time he meets his wife, and watch as
controversy and overwork undermine his health. As you can imagine, it
was a wild, heartbreaking and astounding ride.
Laura Linney plays Clara, Dr. Kinsey’s exceptionally understanding
and open-minded wife. Peter Sarsgaard, an outstanding and lesser-known
actor who deserves more acclaim, portrays Dr. Kinsey’s assistant Clyde
Martin. A supporting cast of other familiar, respected actors rounds
out the movie, making it a serious piece of substantial theatrical
At one hour and 58 minutes, it’s amazing that “Kinsey” can cover a
man’s lifetime and years of scientific research without seeming rushed,
but it does so superbly. At the end of the movie, you find yourself
clicking right back to the DVD menu hoping for more on the film, but
“Kinsey” on DVD is pretty slim on special features. Just one offering
is found: only a director’s commentary, when you crave a “making of”
featurette or maybe a short documentary and pictures of the real Dr.
Kinsey. The movie, not surprisingly, is rated R for “pervasive sexual
content, including some graphic images and description.” This surely
isn’t a film for family viewing, but all the content is handled in a
non-gratuitous, tasteful and scientific way.
Combining history, drama and a behind-the-scenes look at one of our
nation’s most controversial scientists, “Kinsey” is a quiet hit many
people may not have gotten the chance to see in theaters. Get to the
video shop early and often to rent it – it’s likely this movie will fly
off the shelves.