Synopsis by Mark Deming
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.
research, sexologist, sex-survey, sexuality, social-science