sex, lies, and the eventual truth

So let’s talk about sex. Okay, you go first. No? Okay, let’s talk about the movie then.

“Kinsey” is about an Indiana University professor who collects and examines gall wasps by thousands. Just when you think the man would remain exclusive to science, he meets Clara McMillen (Laura Linney). He marries her and adoringly calls her “Mac.” When it’s time for the newlyweds to copulate, the virgins clumsily slip into a pit of problem. They seek expertise to remedy their sex life and it satisfyingly pays off. This opens a new door to Kinsey, who discovers that he and Mac aren’t the only clueless couple lacking bed skills. True to his scientist nature, he is compelled to research on such a vague field of study. It would be his calling.

The movie is truly amusing when Kinsey encounters some of the myths related to sex, such as masturbation can lead to blindness. They’re all fabrications with the intent to intimidate. Therefore, to bust these myths, Kinsey must set out to do an extensive study and interview people for their sexual histories. Just like his previous gall wasp specimens, he seeks out thousands to participate in his survey. This would lead to the release of a book that would penetrate America’s heightened consciousness.

While the movie has the titillating subject of sex, it never loses focus on Kinsey. This is about a determined man who looks at sex the way he’d look at gall wasps. It would be wrong to associate him with the naughty likes of Hugh Hefner, Larry Flint, or Howard Stern. If he experiments in sexual activity, it’s more for knowledge than pleasure. It is consequential that his book titled Sexual Behavior in the Human Male would be met with outrage, but he has no intention to ruffle the feathers of the right wing. Albeit he is deemed as an enemy, Kinsey only views them as obstacles. To him, it’s all a matter of science, where the most peculiar are the most fascinating.

“Kinsey” has a fine ensemble. Liam Neeson is wonderfully dogged in the title role. Laura Linney is effective as the supportive wife. Peter Sarsgaard is noteworthy as the young bisexual who’d test the Kinsey’s marriage and John Lithgow delivers a strong work as Kinsey’s stern father. Bill Condon, who writes and directs, makes a surprisingly keen film that makes us reflect on the sex evolution for the last sixty years. It seems ridiculous the way people once found sex such a daunting taboo. These days, you can easily watch uhm… sex instructions off the Net. The sexual awareness that Kinsey introduced, no doubt, liberated us, but it also escalated such troubles as the AIDS epidemic and teen pregnancies. For better or worse, Kinsey has awakened our senses and solved a partial mystery of what makes us human.

Grade: A-