Saturday, July 29, 2006


I was supposed to wait. You see, I told a friend of mine that I'd hold my new Netflix selection until we saw each other again and then we'd watch it together. But then, last night, about 10pm, I got bored and was not yet sleepy. And, in a moment of forgetfulness, I thought to myself, "Oh, I haven't watched my new movie yet." So, I opened my DVD player, turned my TV on, and sat back for one heck of an interesting movie. I watched Liam Neeson in the movie Kinsey.

Amazingly, I haven't actually read his book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, but the controversy surrounding this man's life is so huge that actually reading his book is of secondary concern 50 years after its publishing (although I do plan to go to the library this week and check it out). The movie portrayed Kinsey's life from early adolesence into late adulthood. In it, we learn how his view of sex shaped his life and, through his own experiences between him and his wife as well as his popularity on campus, where he taught, he felt it necessary to study and convey his findings to his curious students.

I was particularly facinated how religion and its constraits of the 1930s and 1940s played such a huge role in both Kinsey's personal life as well as in the reaction his studies created. The latter can be expected, but the former- both from his own experiences with his father's strict parenting to his father's admission of his own sexual repression, were both shocking and understandable. Towards the end of the movie, you couldn't help but feel sorry for the father who had been harnassed as a boy to prevent him from even touching himself sexually. As Freud might suggest, the suppression of sexuality can have extreme ramifications for everyone involved--and this was true for both Kinsey and his father.

During the movie itself, it tackled many of the controversies surrounding Kinsey to include how he gathered his data to the subjects themselves. It touched on what we can know from his studies, what is critics have said, and what they continue to say. And, the movie left a lot of information for interpretation. I found myself, a couple of times, wincing. But on the whole, I deeply enjoyed the movie as well as the onscreen chemisty between Neeson and Laura Linney (who played his wife).

When the movie was over, I found myself daydreaming. Not of sex mind you, but of how Kinsey's work may have been more pivotal towards the gay rights movement than the 1969 Stonewall riots that fueled and propelled gay rights formation here in the U.S. Thinking how restrictive America was around sex and how difficult it must have been for hetero- and homosexuals alike causes me to 'thank my lucky stars that I wasn't around then.' And, the movie had me convinced that Kinsey's work with sexuality opened a lot of eyes, ears, and imaginations in and around sex.

The movie also did something else. For not only did the movie make clear the importance of knowledge and how freedom from sexual repression and ignorance can highten one's being, the movie also showed how an organized system of sexual expression, or even the boundaries of sexual expression, are meant to keep men and women... how do I say this... these boundaries may actually exist for a reason. A reason that some might articulate that attempts to preserve the emotional connection and stability of a marriage. And to that, I found myself both agreeing that many people may need constructs in relationships while at the same time amending the argument for constructs with a balanced sense of knowing the boundaries, understanding that not all boundaries work for all peoples, and that some people have differences that don't allow for a "one boundary for all" mentality and social construct.

All in all, I loved the movie and would definitely recommend it. Watch out though, if I winced a couple of times, you might wince more. ;)

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