Sunday, November 28, 2004


Kinsey feels like a good movie. The performances from the entire cast – from Liam Neeson (who is so commanding in the title role that even when he engages in homosexual sex with his assistant/lover Clyde Martin, excellently portrayed by Peter Saarsgard, the viewer will not ever doubt his masculinity) to the British great Lynn Redgrave who was almost unrecognizable as the final subject/interviewee – were all uniformly good. The photography brilliantly captures the color of the various periods in Kinsey’s storied life. And yet, I was somewhat clueless whether the movie was excellent good or just okay good.

Kinsey is the story of Alfred Kinsey’s life before and after his ascendance as the sex guru of modern America. The film swiftly laid out the foundation of Kinsey’s psychology when it dwelt on his early childhood where his view on the morality of sex was based on his father’s traditionalist teachings (reasons for which are expectedly revealed in one of the film’s highlights – drawing no dramatic resonance anymore given the fact that it came too late into the story structure). The film then quickly jumps into his early adulthood when he becomes a zoology professor at the Indiana University, collecting wasps. He meets his future wife Clara (portrayed effortlessly by Laura Linney) during one of his class and they get married. At this point, talk of sex has been particularly scarce. On the night of their wedding, they both discover difficulty in consummating sex because: first, both of them are virgins; and secondly, Kinsey has a big penis.

Supposedly, that act brought about an impetus on the eventual urge for Kinsey to study sex behaviors of the American people. I haven’t read the biographical book where this movie was based nor have I read any of the landmark books based on his studies of American sex, but given this scenario, I already started having serious doubts about the plausibility of this sudden burst of inspiration.

The film is insightful on the subject matter it professes to dissect. Moviegoers will laugh and snicker at the old sex taboos of the early ‘60s culture about masturbation, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, etc. But are the laughter aimed at the morally-stringent period where sex remained a taboo topic or are they laughing at themselves because these have become almost the norm of the present society and the virtue to distinguish right from wrong have almost vanished to the so-called advancement of sexual psychology?

At film’s end before the final credits roll, a short film compiled by the Kinsey Institute for Sex showing various animals and insects in separate stages of the sexual act is shown. I have no idea what the director’s intention was in inserting this clip but one wonders: have we really gotten down to such low that even those animals who are impervious to the codes of morality pale in comparison to what we humans are actually doing so publicly now? Was it actually the whole conceit of the director in filming this story?

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Anonymous said...

Mr. Lo, have heard some very positive comments about this movie. Hope it's shown here; given the very 'delicate' subject matter. Btw, congratulations on your great blog site. Looking forward to more reviews. Napanood mo na ba ang 'Alexander'?

Dindo D

Anonymous said...

I bet you watched Kinsey because of Laura Linney!! =)

Great blog site with superb reviews. Keep 'em coming

~~Treena_O - entertainment