Kinsey - The Truth About Sex

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German title Kinsey - The Truth About Sex
Original title Kinsey
Country of production USA
original language English
Publishing year 2004
length 118 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 10
Director Bill Condon
script Bill Condon
production Gail Mutrux
music Carter Burwell
camera Frederick Elmes
cut Virginia Katz

Kinsey - The Truth About Sex (Original Title: Kinsey ) is an American film from 2004 , which describes the life and work of the sex researcher Alfred Charles Kinsey . The award-winning independent film was directed by Bill Condon , who also wrote the screenplay. The main role was played by Liam Neeson .

The film, which cost approximately $ 11 million to produce, grossed $ 10.25 million in the US and another $ 6.67 million outside the US.


The film is a collage of scenes from several interviews in which Alfred Charles Kinsey is questioned by colleagues from his scientific studies, as well as a series of individual biographical film sequences that depict parts of Kinsey’s life as memories of the interviewee. The interview sequences are in black and white, the biographical sequences in color.

The young Kinsey grows up with his brother in a strongly Methodist household influenced by his strict father, a Methodist preacher. He spent a large part of his childhood sickly in bed before he developed his love for nature as a young boy. He studies plants and animals in the forest and joins the scouts . At his father's request, he begins engineering studies, but breaks it off and begins studying biology against his father's wishes . He is convinced of the bad influence of the technical achievements of science on human morale , which is why Kinsey has to finance his studies through a scholarship and out of his own pocket.

After earning his PhD in Zoology from Harvard University , he devoted himself to cataloging gall wasps during his professorship at Indiana University in Bloomington . Here he met his future wife Clara among the students. Together with her, he fathered three children, while they abandoned their prudish upbringing of the early 20th century and discovered sex for themselves.

After the publication of his second book on the gall wasp, Kinsey became interested in a marriage counseling course that was previously run more as a campaign against sex. He offers a lecture on sexual education exclusively for married students , but quickly realizes that he is reaching the limits of contemporary knowledge. He begins by asking his students about their previous sexual experiences, whereupon he develops an interview in order to be able to carry out statistical surveys on the sexual lives of the American population. He found his first test subjects in gay bars, incidentally he noticed his bisexual inclination through his assistant Clyde Martin. He begins to see sex independent of love and also allows an affair between his wife and Clyde.

With his first research results he can win the Rockefeller Foundation as a donor. Together with a trained team of three other interviewers, he drives through the USA and collects the sexual résumés of thousands of Americans, including that of his father, who is critical of the project. In interviews he tries not to judge his subjects, even if they are pedophiles , his primary goal remains the statistical survey of sexual behavior.

Be based on this data book is a controversial bestseller in the late 1940s and triggered a major controversy concerns also what his new methods, in which he women in a better understanding of female sexuality orgasm filming. He caused even bigger problems with the publication of his studies on female sexual behavior and moved into the sights of various religious or anti-communist societies. In addition, the health problems of his childhood return. Eventually, under societal pressure, the Rockefeller Foundation withdraws its financial support and Kinsey's academic work threatens to remain incomplete. Kinsey suffers greatly from the fact that he was unable to help people who are exposed to social repression of sex, even if test subjects thank him again and again for his achievements. The film closes with a conciliatory scene in the woods where Kinsey's scientific life began.


Kinsey premiered at various film festivals in North America in September 2004 . The film was released in US cinemas on November 12, 2004, in Swiss cinemas on March 3, 2005, in German cinemas on March 24, 2005 and in Austria on March 25, 2005.


Most of the critics praised the film. The American film critic Roger Ebert said in the Chicago Sun-Times that the strength of the film lies in the portrayal of Alfred Charles Kinsey. It is interesting to learn more about such an intelligent and contradicting person.

The magazine film-dienst wrote in issue 6/2005 that the film does not cover up the explosive character of Kinsey's research results, but approaches its topic with a distance and avoids any cheap commercialization. The fact that Kinsey himself, in contrast to his research object, was only a little fascinating person, impaired the dramatic expressiveness of the film despite good acting performances.


Laura Linney received the Glitter Award and the Florida Film Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Clara McMillan . She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2005 Academy Awards, but had to admit defeat to Cate Blanchett ( Aviator ). In the same category, she received a Golden Globe nomination. Linney was also nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Satellite Award .

Liam Neeson was nominated for the Golden Globe Award / Best Actor - Drama and the film itself was nominated for Best Drama in motion picture. The Independent Spirit Awards was Kinsey - The Truth About Sex in the categories Best Film , Best Actor (Liam Neeson), Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor nominated (Peter Sarsgaard), but was able to win in any of the categories.

In addition to Linney, Liam Neeson and Peter Sarsgaard were nominated in the actor categories for the Satellite Award. The script, the direction and the film itself received nominations. Peter Sarsgaard also received the Chlotrudis Award and the Glitter Award. Liam Neeson won the IFTA Award and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award. Kinsey - The Truth About Sex received the 2004 Political Film Society Award for Exposé .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Certificate of Release for Kinsey - The Truth About Sex . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , December 2004 (PDF; test number: 101 015 K).
  2. Jump up ↑ Age Rating for Kinsey - The Truth About Sex . Youth Media Commission .
  3. Kinsey , film review by Roger Ebert , accessed July 10, 2008
  4. film-dienst 6/2005 ( memento of March 5, 2006 in the Internet Archive ), quoted at, accessed on July 10, 2008