Kinsey (film): Wikis


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Kinsey film poster
Directed by Bill Condon
Produced by Gail Mutrux
Written by Bill Condon
Starring Liam Neeson
Laura Linney
Peter Sarsgaard
Chris O'Donnell
Timothy Hutton
John Lithgow
Luke Macfarlane
Oliver Platt
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date(s) 12 November 2004 (USA)
Running time 118 min.
Language English
Budget US$11,000,000

Kinsey is a 2004 biographical film written and directed by Bill Condon.[1] It describes the life of Alfred Kinsey (played by Liam Neeson), a pioneer in the area of sexologic research. His 1948 publication, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (the first of the Kinsey Reports) was one of the first recorded works that tried to scientifically address and investigate sexual behaviour and its consequences (and lack thereof) in humans. The movie also stars Laura Linney (in a performance nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, Oliver Platt, Dylan Baker and William Sadler.

Kinsey was the first film permitted to show human genitalia uncensored in Japan, known for its strict censorship policies regarding genitalia.[2]

The film received critical acclaim, including a 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes.



It begins with Professor Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson), being interviewed about his sex history. Interspersed with the interview, there are flashbacks from his childhood and young-adulthood. The former depicts his experiences as a Boy Scout and the other shows Kinsey disappointing his father by his chosen vocational intentions. It then shows Kinsey teaching at Indiana University as a professor of biology lecturing on gall wasps. Kinsey falls in love with a student in his class, whom he calls Mac (Laura Linney), and marries her. Their consummation of their marriage is difficult at first because of a medical problem Mac has that is fixed easily with minor surgery. After which it shows that she has an equally intense sexual appetite as her husband. Meanwhile, at the University, Professor Kinsey, who is affectionately called "Prok" by his graduate students, meets with students afterhours to offer individual sexual advice.

At a book party celebrating Kinsey's latest publication on gall wasps, Kinsey approaches the dean of students about an open-forum sex education course as opposed to the anti-sex propaganda taught in a general health class. Eventually, it is approved. Kinsey begins teaching the sex course to a packed auditorium, nevertheless this course is open only to teachers, graduate or senior students or married students. Kinsey continues to answer students' questions in personal meetings but finds his answers to be severely limited by the complete paucity of scientific data about human sexual intercourse. This leads Kinsey to pass out questionnaires in his sexual education class from which he learns of the enormous disparity between what society had assumed people do and what their actual practices are. After securing financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Kinsey and his research assistants, including his closest assistant, Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard), travel the country, interviewing subjects about their sexual histories.

As time progresses Dr. Kinsey begins realizing that sexuality within humans, including himself, is a lot more varied than was originally thought. The range of expression he creates later becomes known as the Kinsey scale, which ranks overall sexuality from completely heterosexual to completely homosexual and everything in-between.

The first sexological book Kinsey publishes, which is on the sexual habits of the male, is a large-scale success and a best seller. Kinsey's research turns to women, which is met with more controversy. With the release of the female volume, support for Kinsey declines. McCarthyist pressures lead the Rockefeller Foundation to withdraw its financial support, lest it be labeled "Communist" for backing the subversion of traditional American values. Kinsey feels that he has failed everyone who has ever been a victim of sexual ignorance. A customs office is tipped off to an importation of some of Kinsey's research material, which only exacerbates the financial situation of Kinsey's research organization. Alfred Kinsey himself suffers a heart attack, something foreshadowed in his mention of having a "weak heart" at the beginning of the movie and is found to have developed an addiction to barbiturates. Meeting with other philanthropists fails to garner the support needed. Still, Kinsey continues his taking of sex histories. He interviews an older woman, who tells Kinsey that his research has saved her life and made her happy again, by helping her come to terms with her own sexuality. She felt so much shame about her attraction to another woman that she became an alcoholic.

The story returns to the initial interview with Kinsey, and he is asked about love and if he will ever attempt to conduct research on it. His response is that love is impossible to measure and impossible to quantify (and without measuring, he reminds us, there can be no science), but that it is important. The final scene is of Kinsey and his wife, pulling over to the side of the road for a nature walk. She remarks about a tree that has been there for a thousand years. Kinsey replies that the tree seems to display a strong love in the way its roots grip the earth. Afterwards, the two walk off together, Kinsey remarking "there's work to be done".


Production notes

Although the story takes place at Indiana University, most of the film's exterior scenes were filmed at Fordham University in The Bronx, the campus of which also appears in several other films. Portions of this film were also shot at Columbia University.

Awards and nominations

According to its IMDb profile, Kinsey won 11 awards and received 27 other nominations.
Chlotrudis Awards
  • Best Supporting Actor (Sarsgaard)
Florida Film Critics Circle
  • Best Supporting Actress (Linney)
GLAAD Media Awards
  • Outstanding Film – Wide Release
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
  • Best Actor (Neeson)
National Board of Review
  • Best Supporting Actress (Linney)
Phoenix Film Critics Society
  • Best Supporting Actress (Linney)
Other nominations
Academy Awards
  • Best Supporting Actress (Linney)
American Cinema Editors (ACE)
  • Best Edited Film – Dramatic (Katz)
Broadcast Film Critics Association
  • Best Film
  • Best Supporting Actor (Sarsgaard)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Linney)
  • Best Writer (Condon)
Casting Society of America (CSA)
  • Best Film Casting – Drama (Tolan)
Golden Globe Awards
  • Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Neeson)
  • Best Picture – Drama
  • Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture (Linney)
Independent Spirit Awards
  • Best Actor (Neeson)
  • Best Film
  • Best Screenplay (Condon)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Sarsgaard)
Online Film Critics Society
  • Best Supporting Actor (Sarsgaard)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Linney)
Satellite Awards
  • Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Neeson)
  • Best Director (Condon)
  • Best Film – Drama
  • Best Screenplay – Original (Condon)
  • Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Sarsgaard)
  • Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Drama (Linney)
Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
  • Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Linney)
Vancouver Film Critics
  • Best Actor (Neeson)
Writers Guild of America (WGA)
  • Best Original Screenplay (Condon)


  1. ^ Bill Condon (Director). (November 12 2004). Kinsey. Fox Searchlight Pictures. 
  2. ^ Why is Japanese Porn Censored? : Japan Probe

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Kinsey (2004), written and directed by Bill Condon, is a film based on the life of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey.


Clyde Martin

  • Sex is a risky game, because if you're not careful, it will cut you wide open.
  • [to Alfred Kinsey] You just told me your entire history, but there hasn't been a single mention of love.

Alfred Kinsey

  • Love is the answer, isn't it? But sex raises a lot of very interesting questions.


Alfred Kinsey: What's your most common position?
Couple being interviewed: There's more than one?

Clyde Martin: When did you first begin masturbating?
Old Woman: I invented masturbation.

[Kinsey is teaching his first class.]
Alfred Kinsey: Who can tell me which part of the human body can enlarge a hundred times? You, miss?
Female Student: I'm sure I don't know. And you've no right to ask me such a question in a mixed class.
Alfred Kinsey: I was referring to the pupil in your eye, young lady. [the rest of the class laughs.] And I think I should tell you, you're in for a terrible disappointment.

Wardell Pomeroy: How old were you when you first engaged in sexual activity with a partner?
Research Subject: 14.
Wardell Pomeroy: How?
Research Subject: With horse.
Wardell Pomeroy: How often were you having intercourse with animals at age 14?
Research Subject: [stunned] It's true. I fucked a pony. You are genius. How did you know?
Wardell Pomeroy: You just said you had... "sex with horse."
Research Subject: Nooo... Whores, not horse. WHORES.

[Alfred and Clara are visiting a doctor after their wedding night.]
Doctor: How large is your penis?
Kinsey: Excuse me?
Doctor: When erect, how large is it? How long from the scrotum? [pointing at a scale with a measuring stick] Here? Here? [points to the very end of the scale] Here? [Clara points off the scale] I'm surprised you didn't pass out.

Alfred Kinsey [reading from Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique]: "The hand should never be used for the purpose of sexual excitation. There is but one finger of love with which to approach the female genitals and that is the male organ."


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