Tonight, Kelsey and I went to go see Kinsey at West Point in Brookfield. This is yet another Oscar-season biopic, this time about Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist and behavioral researcher who dropped a sexbomb on the country with his frank discussions of human sexuality.

Liam Neeson stars in the title role, along with Laura Linney, Peter Sarsgaard and Chris O'Donnell. Neeson has received a lot of Oscar buzz for his performance, and I can definitely understand why. It's a tough role, where he must at times appear clinical and removed from the subject of sex, but at other times appear quite emotionally fragile. It's a fine line to walk, and Neeson pull it off admirably. As Kelsey noted, he can occasionally overemote when drama dictates passion, but his performance remained subdued yet emotional throughout the film. I think an Oscar nomination would be in order, but probably not a win. I'll get into that, however, once the nominations are announced. A potential winner, though, for Best Supporting Actor, would be Sarsgaard, as Kinsey's bisexual assistant Clyde Martin. His flippant attitude towards sex fits right in with Kinsey's clinical approach, and when he ends up sleeping with both Dr. and Mrs. Kinsey, it's easy to understand, as is his emotional breakdown later in the film. Sarsgaard's was the caliber of performance that makes me want to go rent his other films, just to see if he's as good in the others.

The film was written and directed by Bill Condon, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who also wrote and directed 1998's Gods and Monsters. He portrait of Kinsey may be somewhat whitewashed, but so was A Beautiful Mind, Beyond the Sea, Ray, Man on the Moon and any number of other flicks. The film does tend to speed through things, again a common problem in biopics. Neeson and Linney don't seem to age, though the film progresses through about 30 years. Certain subplots are aldo rushed through, or left incomplete, such as Kinsey's tempestous relationships with his father and son, and his encounter with a sex-addicted child abuser. Condon introduces these plot threads, all of which seemed very interesting, but then each one was slowly left adrift, never to be heard from again.

The most interesting thing about Kinsey was the fact that so much has changed since that time, namely the 1940s, and yet so much is the same. During a scene when Neeson and Sarsgaard kiss, two men behind us were giggling like schoolgirls. And while a lot of what Dr. Kinsey discussed, like premarital sex, has become much more socially acceptable, homosexuality is just as marginalized and frowned-upon as it was back then. Society may allow Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera to sex up our radios and TVs, but heaven forbid two men should love each other. It's not right, but it's the way the country is. Who's the president again?

All told, Kinsey was a fairly good look at a man who was willing to discuss what no one else would: SEX. I never felt quite emotionally involved with the story, but the cast's performances made this a film worth seeing. I give it a B.


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