Monday, December 13, 2004

Smells like an Oscar

Upstate Pal, Dadu and kids came down from Kingston to celebrate Hanukah and Upstate Pal's birthday in Brooklyn. As luck would have it, Beautiful Smile agreed to babysit for the four kids on Third Street while the four parents went to see "Kinsey" at the BAM Rose Cinema. Afterwards they went out for a birthday dinner at Belleville, which was festively festooned in red Christmas lights and wreaths.

The birthday group enjoyed "Kinsey," a smart, funny, and sexy movie that made Smartmom think that Alfred D. Kinsey, deserves to be a face on Mt. Rushmore for his part in the sexual revolution.

Born in 1894 the son of a Methodist minister, Kinsey grew up in an atmosphere of sexual puritanism, prudishness, and mis-information. A dedicated scientist, he became a professor of biology at a mid-western university where he met his scientist-wife, Mac. Sexual difficulty on their wedding night led them to consult a doctor to learn more about their "problem." From this, Kinsey began to to contemplate the ignorance of human sexual behavior that was pervasive at the time.

Kinsey gave up his esoteric study of gall moths to become a sex researcher, setting out to discover what is normal. In the process he unearthed the diverse world of human sexuality -- a universe of variation.

Liam Neeson is pitch perfect in the role of Alfred Kinsey. He is believably intelligent, preachy, searching, sexy, curious, lovable, enraging, flawed and human. His strapping body is in just about every frame of the film -- usually in bow tie and once or twice nude. The script paints a very real portrait of the man and his work -- it does glorify him but it also shows him warts and all.

Laura Linney as the bold and brave Mrs. Kinsey stays, as written, mostly in the background. She does, however, transcend her wallpaper-wife role in a couple of incredible scenes that pack a punch. Peter Saargard, with what can only be described as squinty bedroom eyes, is unbelievable sexy whether he is tongue kissing Liam Neeson, or in another scene having warm, frolicking sex with Laura Linney.

Director Bill Condon utilizes many Hollywood cliches and narrative devices to tell his tale. But Smartmom thinks Condon's appropration of the classic bio-pic form was a conscious way to put a familiar Hollywood framework around this story of a very unusual American hero. The lighting, the sometimes smaltzy music, the graphic use of newspaper headlines, cartoons, and a U.S. map showing hundreds of heads talking about sex -- are all familiar motifs that enhance the narrative beautifully.

The film leaves you interested to learn more about Kinsey, to find out what's real and what's cinematic fiction. Smartmom thinks the film had the feel of a very well-researched labor of love. And for her money, Smartmom thinks Liam Neeson is gonna win the silver statue. He cries, he kisses a man, he loves his wife brilliantly, and by asking questions, he paved the way for the sexual revolution. What more could you want?

Smells like an Oscar.


At 3:26 PM, Blogger mamainwaiting said...

Smartmom, thanks for the very positive review of Kinsey. I certainly would love to see Liam win an oscar - Did he win for Schindler. He's one hell of an actor and certainly deserves the statue for his impressive body of work. Can't wait to see the film. Perhaps we will see it on xmas day. Wouldn't that be something?love, mamainwaiting

At 6:35 AM, Blogger La Chat Noir said...

I'm dying to see Kinsey ... it's on the list!


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