iTunes Movie of the Week: Bill Condon's KINSEY (2004)

KINSEY is the story of one Alfred Kinsey (portrayed by Liam Neeson in a Golden Globe-nominated role), the man who essentially coined modren sexology while trying to keep his personal life afloat.

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Laura Linney garnered a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her compelling performance as Kinsey's free-thinking wife. KINSEY is a provocative drama that dares to lift the veil of shame from a society in which sex was hidden, knowledge was dangerous and talking about it was the ultimate taboo.

Alfred Kinsey's two reports, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (a best-seller) andSexual Behavior in the Human Female (America was not ready) had a profound impact on popular culture. From his Wikipedia entry:

The popularity of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male prompted widespread media interest in 1948. Time magazine declared, "Not since Gone With the Wind had booksellers seen anything like it." The first pop culture references to Kinsey appeared not long after the book's publication: "Rubber-faced comic Martha Raye [sold] a half-million copies of 'Ooh, Dr. Kinsey!'" Cole Porter's song "Too Darn Hot", from the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate, devoted its bridge to an analysis of the Kinsey report and the "average man's favorite sport." In 1949, Mae West, reminiscing on the days when the word "sex" was rarely uttered, said of Kinsey, "That guy merely makes it easy for me. Now I don't have to draw 'em any blueprints... We are both in the same business... Except I saw it first."

The publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Female prompted even more intensive news coverage: Kinsey appeared on the cover of the August 24, 1953, issue of Time. The national newsmagazine featured two articles on the scientist, one focusing on his research career and new book, the other on his background, personality, and lifestyle. In the magazine's cover portrait, "Flowers, birds, and a bee surround Kinsey; the mirror-of-Venus female symbol decorates his bow tie." The lead article concludes with the following observation: "'Kinsey...has done for sex what Columbus did for geography,' declared a pair of enthusiasts... forgetting that Columbus did not know where he was when he got there.... Kinsey's work contains much that is valuable, but it must not be mistaken for the last word."

The movie scored a whopping 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, with near-unianimous praise from national film critics. Here's what some of them had to say at the time:

"It's a film Kinsey himself might have appreciated: It's sober, never flashy or exciting but always engrossing, both for its penetration into Kinsey's psychology and for the effects his findings are shown to have on the world and the people around him."--Mick LaSalle, SF Gate

"The strength of KINSEY is finally in the clarity it brings to its title character. It is fascinating to meet a complete original, a person of intelligence and extremes. I was reminded of Russell Crowe's work in A Beautiful Mind, also the story of a man whose brilliance was contained within narrow channels."--Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"KINSEY is a movie about an individual in the grip of an idea. Electric crew cut crackling over his noble profile, Liam Neeson plays this American pioneer as a great glowering hero, dedicated to transcribing the sexual history of everyone he meets."--J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

And here's the trailer:

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