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Film / Kinsey

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A 2004 Biopic written and directed by Bill Condon about the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.

Starring Liam Neeson as Alfred Kinsey, Laura Linney as Clara McMillen (his research partner and wife), Peter Sarsgaard as Clyde Martin (his research partner and occasional lover), and John Lithgow as Alfred Seguine Kinsey (his father).


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The real Alfred Kinsey vs. Liam Neeson.
  • Adaptation Distillation: How to fit 18 years of research into 118 minutes of screentime, including the credits? Looks like we're gonna need a montage!
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed : Zigzagged. Mrs. Kinsey has trouble, but the long ruler is shown admiringly.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a bit, throughout the film.
    Alfred Kinsey: The doctors say my heart sounds like a cement mixer.
    Clyde Martin: At least they found one.
  • Death of a Child: Only in the film. The Kinseys' first child died at the age of five but is not mentioned at all in the film.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: The "omnisexual", who doesn't even care if his partners are adults (or human). While Kinsey is pretty open-minded, this "subject" clearly disgusts him.
  • Framing Device: Kinsey explains his sexual history to the viewer through the framing device of him training an interviewer how to ask questions by posing as a subject.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While in New York, Kinsey is asked by a reporter if there was a chance his report would be made into a film. Kinsey responds that he couldn't think of anything more pointless.
  • Metaphorically True: He was filming animals to make a visual record of mammalian behavior. He never said which mammal species he was focusing on (H. sapiens, as it turned out).
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Kenneth Braun believes this about him and Kinsey, given their dedication to research and sex. He's put off when Kinsey reveals he's not for completely free sexuality and specifically opposes rape and hurting others.
  • Really Gets Around: Both Kinsey and his wife had several extramarital affairs. No Double Standard was applied, since both Alfred and Clara were polyamorous and had an "open marriage".
  • Sex Is Good: Or at least, not evil. Kinsey wanted to clear away the misinformation and rumors about sex and give people facts.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Kinsey has a rather strained relationship with his father. The old man laments that the only kids he has left at home are a daughter that is "too fat to get married" and a son with a failed business while the only one that left is "the big scientist".
    • Kinsey's father refused to attend any of his graduation ceremonies or his wedding. Dropping out of SIT hurt their relationship quite badly.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Kinsey had problems with this concept.
    Clyde Martin: Just one more question. You've just told me your entire history: childhood, family, career, every person you've ever had sex with. But there hasn't been a single mention of love.
    Alfred Kinsey: That's because it's impossible to measure love. And, as you know, without measurements there can be no science. But I have been thinking a lot about the problem lately.
    Clyde Martin: Mmh, "problem"?
    Alfred Kinsey: When it comes to love, we're all in the dark.