Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Kinsey (2004)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Kinsey (2004)

In director/writer Bill Condon's dramatic biopic about the famous pioneering human sexuality researcher:

  • the scene of Indiana University professor of biology Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) teaching his first introductory class in sex education, writing the word STIMULATION on a blackboard, and provocatively asking: "Who can tell me which part of the human body can enlarge a hundred times. You, miss?" - when a female student objected to the potentially embarrassing question in a "mixed class", he responded: ("I was referring to the pupil in your eye, young lady. And I think I should tell you, you're in for a terrible disappointment. It is often in the eye that stimulation begins")
  • the matter-of-fact interviews conducted by Professor Kinsey (nicknamed Prok): ("Hello, I'm Professor Kinsey from Indiana University and I'm making a study of sex behavior. Can we sit and talk?")
  • the honeymoon scene of Kinsey with wife Clara "Mac" McMillen (Oscar-nominated Laura Linney) having painful sexual problems with her inexperienced husband during their honeymoon; on their wedding night, the two virgins were so sexually naive that their attempts to consummate their marriage were a complete failure when she begged him to stop intercourse - due to a medical issue with her thick hymen: ("I'm sorry, it hurts too much")
  • the exhibition of Kinsey's revolutionary techniques, example, in a b/w educational sex film of patient Barbara Merkle (Kathleen Chalfant) masturbating - one instance of using movie and still cameras to record sex acts
  • the later emotional scene of Kinsey's free-thinking wife "Mac" revealing that she already had suspicions that her husband was unfaithful and bisexual: ("It's not like I'm surprised exactly. I've observed certain things over the years....A look or a gesture. The pet student who suddenly becomes a member of the family and then just as suddenly disappears when you tire of him...I understand. Haven't I always been open to whatever you wanted?...I'm just not enough. Is that it?"); Kinsey admitted his failings: ("This is inside of me. To what extent, I don't know. But I'd be a hypocrite if I pretended it wasn't there"); then, after she complained about the problems in their marriage, he began lecturing her: ("You're just afraid that I won't love you anymore - which is impossible, Mac. The human animal is capable of all kinds of sexual expression. Not all sex has to be sanctioned by love, enriched by emotion. To the Greeks...); he tried to calm her protest by expressing his steadfast love: ("Mac, Listen to me. You're my girl. You always will be. The bond we have, the life we share - sex is nothing compared to that")
  • the black and white montage of sexual activity, with Kinsey's voice-over about female motivations for engaging in sex: ("In the bonobo chimpanzee, our nearest primate relation, sex is the glue of social cohesion and peace. Cleared of notions like romantic love or religion or morality, their society's behavior hangs together as a coherent unit of biology and conditioning. Based on the experiences of females who have contributed to our histories, we have observed a wide range of motivations for extramarital coitus. At times, it is a conscious or unconscious attempt to acquire social status. In other instances, it gives them a variety of experiences with new sexual partners who are sometimes superior to their marriage partner. There are occasions when it is done in retaliation for the partner's extramarital activity or for some sort of non-sexual mistreatment. Some females discover new sources of emotional satisfaction while others find it impossible to share such an intimate relationship with more than one partner. We have also encountered a considerable group of cases in which husbands encourage their wives to engage in extramarital activities in an honest attempt to give them the opportunity for additional sexual satisfaction")
  • the confrontation between Kinsey and his bisexual male research assistant Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard), who told his superior: "What are we to you, Prok? We're just lab rats? Is this just another part of the project? To prove that sex..... F--king is nothing more than than friction and harmless fun? Well, let me tell you, that is a risky game, because f--king isn't just something. It's the whole thing. And if you're not careful, it will cut you wide open"
Research Assistant Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard)
Homosexual Kiss
  • the fact that Kinsey's wife was engaged in an extra-marital affair with Clyde - and Kinsey himself, a closet bisexual, also had a homosexual relationship with Clyde, who appeared nude in a full-frontal scene
  • the last interview scene in which older lesbian subject (Lynn Redgrave in a cameo), after having read Kinsey's 1953 research study Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, expressed how she was freed from guilt - realizing that she was not alone in her feelings and attractions for the same sex: ("After I read your book, I realized how many other women were in the same situation. I mustered the courage to talk to my friend and she told me, to my great surprise, that the feelings were mutual. We-we've been together for three happy years now. (she stood and gratefully took his hand in hers to thank him) You saved my life, sir")
  • the concluding nature-walk discussion between Kinsey and "Mac" about the strong rootedness of very ancient trees into the Earth: ("...the Mbeere?... They're an ancient East African tribe. They believe that trees are imperfect men eternally bemoaning their imprisonment. The roots that keep them stuck in one place. But I've never seen a discontented tree. Look at this one! The way its roots are gripping the ground. I believe it really loves it"); the film concluded with his final line as he walked off hurriedly: ("There's a lot of work to do")
  • the final credits sequence of actual film footage shot by Kinsey's group - of animals copulating (to the tune of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It") - with the porcupine segment the most intriguing

Alfred Kinsey
(Liam Neeson)

Kinsey Interview

Painful Honeymoon Night

Barbara Merkle
(Kathleen Chalfant)

Kinsey's Wife Discussing Her Husband's Infidelity and Bisexuality

Mac's Own Affair with Clyde

(Lynn Redgrave)

Nature Walk


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