Great movie, but not for kids.
  • Review Date: May 16, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Tense emotional confrontations, some scuffles.


Very explicit sexual references and situations, clinical discussions of many sexual acts.


Very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has very graphic and explicit sexual references and situations, including clinical and informal discussions and depictions of a wide range of sexual experiences and activities, including adultery and homosexuality. Characters use extremely strong language including clinical and slang terms for sexual acts. Characters drink and smoke. The movie includes some tense emotional scenes and some minor scuffling. A strength of the movie is its depiction of early concerns about equal treatment for women and minorities, including gays and lesbians.

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What's the story?

KINSEY explores the life and career of pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey was not a physician or an anthropologist, the disciplines that would seem most likely for the study of human sexuality. He was an entomologist and zoologist who devoted the first 20 years of his career to the study of gall wing wasps. He collected and examined over six million specimens. Kinsey was, above all, a taxonomist, specializing in the "classification of organisms in an ordered system that indicates natural relationships." And that turned out to be the ideal background for creating the first institute for the study of sexual behavior.

Is it any good?


Writer/director Bill Condon and star Liam Neeson brilliantly show us how Kinsey's passion for categorization and information transcended the distractions of morality or squeamishness. The cast is superb. Neeson brilliantly conveys Kinsey's scientific curiosity and the single-mindedness that is both admirable and infuriating. In a brief cameo near the end, Lynn Redgrave makes a moving statement that is a perfect capstone to the story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Kinsey's work created such an uproar. How do we know -- how do we decide -- what "normal" means? Could anyone be as controversial today as Kinsey was in the 1950s? Why does Mac laugh after meeting Kinsey's parents? What does that tell you about her? What made it possible for Kinsey to be a different kind of father to his children than his father was to him? What did Kinsey learn from his interview with his father? Why were Kinsey and his staff so wrong about the impact that their sexual experimentation would have on their wives?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 12, 2004
DVD release date:May 17, 2005
Cast:Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard
Director:Bill Condon
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive sexual content, including some graphic images and description

This review of Kinsey was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bydamoviecritic April 9, 2008

It tries to say something, but typical studio filmaking brings it down

In the end, I did not think Kinsey was a very good film. The film seems determined to shock us. It wants to show us the true story behind Alfred Kinsey. But it all comes across as very forced. Collage kids (and the film audience) are shown a slide depicting penatration. They are shocked. The collage kids have never had sex. What a shock. Kinsey's research shows that women do masturbate after all. What a shock that in Kinsey's era they didn't know all this. Kinsey's father, naturaly, was sexualy repressed. The film has some decent scenes, and provides great laughs. But it loses credability when we are asked to believe that in the 1950's, families would talk in ways that by today's standards are extremely explicit. Ultimiately, I would recomend the movie as a comedy, merely because the drama is just the same recycled preach for sexual liberation against the establishment that we have seen in many different better movies.
Teen, 17 years old Written byF@nd@ngo Guy April 9, 2008


very sexual
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bymathmom April 9, 2008

Not a kids movie at all - but great work

The common sense review of this is very good. It points out the extremely good values that end up getting passed along in this movie. The idea of being "normal" or not and who is to tell who is or isn't normal is a great question for older teens to deal with in the context of sexual behavior. However, adults who might be turned off by sexual images, nudity, casual adultery, etc. might be taken off guard by this movie's frankness with which it deals with all of these subjects. I'm sure it portrays the researchers pretty accurately, but it can be disturbing to adults - and definitely to kids. Parents should know that there is full frontal male nudity and open wife-swapping in many of the scenes and between the researchers, who are supposedly friends. The best scene in the movie is where Prok realizes that it is his wife (not his research) that gives him roots and her love that gets him through. Although it's a round about way of getting to such a loving point, this movie is well done if you are up for it.


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