starring Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard
written and directed by Bill Condon
by Walter Chaw Liam Neeson plays the venerable zoologist-turned-sex scientist Alfred Kinsey, who, buoyed by a supportive Indiana University Bloomington dean (Oliver Platt) and a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, single-handedly drew back the curtains on the human libido in the rigid 1950s (1948-1953). The picture (written/directed by Gods and Monsters' Bill Condon) covers Kinsey's contentious relationship with his stentorian father (John Lithgow, reprising his evil preacher performance from Footloose), his open relationship with wife Clara "Mac" Kinsey (Laura Linney), and his stewardship of young Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard). The importance of Kinsey, a typical biopic in a lot of ways, is ultimately identical to the importance of Kinsey himself: it opens the conversation again on the infinite varieties of human sexuality. Kinsey says at one point that he's examined hundreds of thousands of gall wasps and found not a one to be the same; when he turns his obsessive eye on humans, he muses that he just found a more complicated insect. Neeson, Linney, and Sarsgaard are all excellent, though special credit is due for the casting of Tim Curry as a prudish faculty member. Condon, you cad. Originally published: October 14, 2004.