Monday, April 14, 2008


"Kinsey" (Bill Condon, 2004) Bill Condon's film of the life and work of Alfred Kinsey, whose scientific study of sexuality in America was the literary equivalent of playing "Doctor" in the '50's ("I'll read yours, if you'll read mine") is a cogent little gloss of the subject which still manages to tell an intriguing and controversial story, while addressing something Kinsey and his researches never did--that of morality, and "feelings." Treating sex as a clinical study wasn't so easy a proposition, as Kinsey, his wife, co-workers and the Rockefeller Foundation that funded him, found out. Condon films the movie in a series of boxes--safe little containers to hold the forbidden fruit. It's when Kinsey is outdoors that he feels the most free. Put him in a rotunda, he's in trouble. What started out as a cold and clinical study by his group soon affects the lives of his researchers, and, when the results are published, the rest of the country. Condon (who wrote the screenplay) starts the movie as a training exercise, grilling his survey-takers (Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton and Chris O'Donnell--great cast, with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, playing Kinsey and wife, being very fine) on their approach, their manner, and their reactions to answers as a test subject--neatly introducing the back-story. There's one box that Kinsey won't consider--Pandora's--and he and his staff are only too willing to dive into it--experimentally, of course, in the name of Science--only to find the damage that it can cause. The libido and the psyche are two compoletely different things, and the film almost makes a case for restraint in sexual matters, for all the damage it can do. An interesting consideration, that. One wonders how amused Kinsey would be by the irony.

The other thing that's interesting is that when writing a review of the film, there's no way that you can write it without filling it with unintended double entendres (said the Actress to the Bishop).

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