Kinsey (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes


Kinsey (2004)



Critic Consensus: A biopic of the sex researcher is hailed as adventurous, clever, and subversive, with fine performances by Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.

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Movie Info

Alfred Kinsey was an entomologist who taught at Indiana University and had a keen interest in an area of human behavior that had seen little scholarly research -- human sexuality. While the courtship and reproductive patterns of animals had been carefully documented, Kinsey believed that most "established facts" about human sexual behavior were a matter of conjecture rather than research and that what most people said about their sex lives was not born out by the evidence (a subject that had personal resonance for him given the troubles he and his wife Clara Kinsey had in the early days of their marriage). After introducing a course in "Marriage" at Indiana University which offered frank and factual information on sex to students, Kinsey began an exhaustive series of interviews with a wide variety of people from all walks of life in order to find out the truth about sex practices in America. When he published Sexual Behavior and the Human Male in 1948, his findings were wildly controversial, indicating that most men had a wider variety of sexual experiences than most people imagined, including a number of practices commonly thought to be dangerous or perverted (including pre-marital sex, same-sex contacts, and masturbation). An even greater outcry greeted Kinsey's next volume, Sexual Behavior and the Human Female, which contradicted common notions than most women went into marriage sexually inexperienced. Kinsey is a film biography written and directed by Bill Condon which examines Kinsey's life and work from his strict childhood until his death in 1956. Liam Neeson plays Alfred Kinsey, and Laura Linney co-stars as Kinsey's wife and colleague Clara. John Lithgow highlights the supporting cast as Kinsey's repressed and moralistic father, while Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, and Timothy Hutton play members of Kinsey's research team and Tim Curry appears as an IU faculty member at odds with Kinsey's teachings. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Liam Neeson
as Alfred Kinsey
Laura Linney
as Clara McMillen
Chris O'Donnell
as Wardell Pomeroy
Peter Sarsgaard
as Clyde Martin
Timothy Hutton
as Paul Gebhard
John Lithgow
as Alfred Seguine Kinsey
Tim Curry
as Thurman Rice
Oliver Platt
as Herman Wells
Dylan Baker
as Alan Gregg
Julianne Nicholson
as Alice Martin
William Sadler
as Kenneth Braun
John McMartin
as Huntington Hartford
Kathleen Chalfant
as Barbara Merkle
Heather Goldenhersh
as Martha Pomeroy
Dagmara Dominczyk
as Agnes Gebhard
Lynn Redgrave
as Final Interview Subject
Harley Cross
as Young Man In Gay Bar
Benjamin Walker
as Kinsey At 19
Matthew Fahey
as Kinsey At 14
William Sadley
as Kenneth Braun
Will Denton
as Kinsey At 10
Susan Blommaert
as Staff Secretary
Romulus Linney
as Rep. B. Carroll Reece
Katharine Houghton
as Mrs. Spaulding
David Harbour
as Robert Kinsey
Judith J.K. Polson
as Mildred Kinsey
Leigh Spofford
as Joan Kinsey
Mike Thurstlic
as Kenneth Hand
Bill Buell
as Dr. Thomas Lattimore
Michele Federer
as Gall Wasp Class Coed
Alvin Keith
as Black Student
Amy Wilson
as Marriage Class Coed
Maryellen Owens
as Female Assistant Professor
Roderick Hill
as Clerical Worker
Peg Small
as Retired Teacher
Don Sparks
as Middle-Aged Businessman
Joe Zaloom
as Janitor
Kate Reinders
as Female Student #1
Mara Hobel
as Female Student #2
Lindsay Schmidt
as Female Student #3
Jason Patrick Sands
as Male Student #1
Marcel Simoneau
as Male Student #2
Bobby Steggert
as Male Student #3
John Pruitt
as Male Student #4
John Epperson
as Effete Man In Gay Bar
Jefferson Mays
as Effete Man's Friend
Mark Mineart
as Slavic Man
Martin Murphy
as Bartender
Kate Jennings Grant
as Marjorie Hartford
Barry Del Sherman
as IU Reporter #1
Fred Burrell
as IU Reporter #2
Michael Arkin
as NYC Reporter #1
Dan Ziskie
as NYC Reporter #2
Tuck Milligan
as NYC Reporter #3
Edwin J. McDonough
as Mr. Morrissey
John Ellison Conlee
as Bookstore Clerk
Arthur French
as Sharecropper
Chandler Williams
as Prison Inmate
Jamie Tirelli
as Hispanic Man
Draper Shreeve
as Ballet Teacher
Joseph Badalucco Jr.
as Radio Repairman
Doris Smith
as Old Woman
as Male Impersonator
Pascal Armand
as Young Black Woman
Sean Skelton
as Staff Photographer
Clifford David
as Professor Smithson
Randy Redd
as Student
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Critic Reviews for Kinsey

All Critics (195) | Top Critics (45)

For a movie so frank and explicit, Kinsey has a soft spirit...Kinsey is a celebration of diversity; it's about the solace knowledge can bring.

March 12, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

He's a terribly flawed man but instead of soapy histrionics, Condon underlines the tragedy with outrageous humour.

January 7, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The shame is that the film doesn't convey more mess or danger; its sex and its politics are almost entirely dinner-table-friendly.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Liam Neeson somehow knits Kinsey's qualities together in a likeable human pattern.

January 17, 2006 | Full Review…

It's delightfully playful for a serious movie, balancing glib wit against its pathos and controversy.

December 17, 2004 | Rating: 5/5

The great thing about Kinsey is the triumphant way it entertains, informs and electrifies us with the highest values of traditional cinema while opening our hearts and minds with the liberating potential of human diversity.

November 29, 2004
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Kinsey

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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Great acting, some really fun moments. It's not going to rock your world, but it might nudge it a little.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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