Before Dr. Alfred Kinsey's 1948 book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male exploded onto the bestseller list, Americans believed all sorts of crazy things about sex: that masturbation causes blindness, dancing spreads venereal disease and wearing high heels can make a woman sterile. Amidst the sexually inhibitive postwar social atmosphere, Kinsey shed light on the "deviant" activities that most Americans actually practiced -- and revealed the gaping dearth of sexual education imposed by "morality disguised as fact."
Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) furthers Kinsey's dream with Kinsey, a poignant celebration of sexual diversity. Liam Neeson's portrayal of Dr. Kinsey is fascinating and brave. The supporting performances are on target, too: Laura Linney plays Mac, Kinsey's wife of 35 years, with equal parts understanding and guidance. John Lithgow has a brief, powerful showing as Kinsey's repressive father. At times, the film looks and sounds much like every other mainstream biopic. Yet Condon and company handily juggle the controversies that stained Kinsey's reputation. Was Kinsey bisexual? Did he fool around with his staff members? Did he just want America to have more sex? The results are mostly inconclusive, but the movie still works.