28 November 2004 | jotix100
Before Dr. Ruth and the others, there was Dr. Kinsey...
Bill Condon, working with his own material has come out with a movie that serves to illustrate how the work of Dr. Kinsey awoke the American public to a better understanding of their sexuality in ways no one, up to that point, had ever dared to show. As he proved with his other film, "Gods and Monsters", Mr. Condon shows he doesn't mind tackling adult themes, so scarce in the present cinema.
The film is documentary in style, as we are shown the life of Kinsey at different times of his life. He had an unhappy childhood. His father was a tyrant who never really showed love toward him. There are moments when the young Kinsey is shown as boy scout and there is an element of homosexuality that maybe, for fear, never came to the surface, but it's there, nonetheless.
Dr. Kinsey's life takes a turn when he meets, Clara McMillen, who he calls "Mac". It's with her that he begins a life of discovery in the field of human sexuality that was taboo in American colleges and universities at the time. Albert Kinsey was the first one that spoke about the things that were never said in polite company, or in the classroom, up to that moment. His life was dedicated to understand what made human beings act the way they did, never being judgmental, but with a tremendous insight to interpret the data and present it in a comprehensible way.
A puritanical American society reacted strongly against the findings of Dr. Kinsey. He was a man ahead of his times when he decided to gather information about the sex lives of Americans and to publish the results in a best selling book.
As Dr. Kinsey, Liam Neeson, showing an uncanny resemblance to the man, himself, does a wonderful job. He shows a complicated character who was not easily understood by his associates and students. As "Mac", his wife, Laura Linney with a dark wig, gives an articulate performance of Mrs. Kinsey. Both actors are wonderful together, as they have already shown in the New York stage.
Peter Sargaard, as Clyde, Dr. Kinsey's first assistant, shows he is an actor that will amaze from picture to picture. This actor has the ability to get under each of his character's skins to make them real, as is the case with his Clyde. Also, almost unrecognizable, Chris O'Donnell, who plays Wardell, one of the interviewers working with the doctor. Timothy Hutton is Gebhard, the other associate who was instrumental in gathering the information to help complete Dr. Kinsey's report. John Lithgow, as Kinsey Sr. has a fantastic moment with Mr. Neeson, as he agrees to be interviewed, revealing a horrible secret. It's a wonderful moment done with panache by both actors working under exceptional direction.
There is a moment toward the end of the film where we see Lynn Redgrave speaking directly to the camera. It is one of the most effective moments in the film when this woman tells Dr. Kinsey about her life as a lesbian.
Mr. Condon's film clarifies a lot about the genius of Kinsey and his contribution to society.