Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
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  1. This hip, highly partisan biography of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey is a surprisingly entertaining movie about the perils of studying sexual behavior in a sexually uptight culture--our own.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Linney is a match for Neeson, and the only thing that might keep Lithgow from getting a supporting-Oscar nomination is the brevity of the part.
  3. One of the year's most satisfying films.
  4. 100
    The strength of Kinsey is finally in the clarity it brings to its title character. It is fascinating to meet a complete original, a person of intelligence and extremes.
  5. 88
    The movie's scientific content is so fascinating that it almost feels like a bonus that Kinsey himself is such an intriguing figure.
  6. 88
    It's as purely entertaining as it is thought-provoking and timely.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    As superbly crafted -- as good -- as this movie is, Condon never really owns up to the cloud of pessimism at its center.
  8. The movie's style is fairly staid, but it's hard to imagine how Neeson could be better, and the subject is handled with taste and tact.
  9. 75
    This is a fine motion picture with a couple of superlative performances. It is arguably the best, most honest bio-pic of the year.
  10. 50
    The movie dramatizes a social-sexual sea change with an out-of-control blend of cartoon farce and melodrama and clinical, often ludicrous sex scenes.
  11. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    It is Condon's adroit handling of the subject matter and the caliber of performances within that carry it above the norm.
  12. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    A deftly directed, superbly acted and occasionally witty biopic which is not afraid to engage with the complexities of its central character.
  13. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    By focusing on one period in his life, this film chronicles the bulk of Kinsey's experiences while barely scratching the surface of his personality.
  14. Kinsey is too tasteful by half, and while it may have its gentle charms, it never thrills.
  15. Kinsey is patient and educational and never (darn it) rude or shocking.
  16. 90
    The movie's strength lies in its portrayal of a many-sided genius, as manipulative as he was charming and persuasive, monomaniacal to a fault, generous and sweet yet utterly clueless about the emotional havoc he wrought in the name of science.
  17. Intelligently written and directed with a pleasing frankness by Bill Condon and well played by Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and a strong supporting cast, the film skillfully uses the forms of old Hollywood to tell a story that would have given heart failure to Harry Cohn and his fellow tycoons.
  18. Mr. Condon's great achievement is to turn Kinsey's complicated and controversial career into a grand intellectual drama.
  19. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    A stupendously moving film. Neeson nails Kinsey's rock-hard decency and fragile ego, and Linney abets him beautifully: There isn't an actress in movies right now who's more simply alive.
  20. 90
    Playful and happy and even naughty. It's partly a scientific brief, partly a song of sex, and it's enormously enjoyable.
  21. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The movie wants to entertain and educate, not leer, about people flummoxed by participating in a revolution they had meant only to calibrate, and at that it succeeds handsomely.
  22. 70
    For a film about man who spent half his life defying staid convention, Kinsey remains as timid as a choirboy.
  23. If only Condon kept up the Q&A format, because when he ditches it the movie turns flat and familiar.
  24. Throughout the film a question tugs at the viewer. Kinsey's work was inarguably important, but his life is not especially interesting.
  25. 60
    Condon's tone is gentle and lifeless and at times baffling: The picture is a weird cross between clinical and whimsical.
  26. Reviewed by: Teresa Wiltz
    For all its explosive material, this is a fairly straightforward telling.
  27. Apart from some unexaggerated notations about American puritanism in the 1940s and '50s, this is more a work of exploration than a thesis, and Condon mainly avoids sensationalism.
  28. 88
    Scrappy, funny, hot-to-trot biopic.
  29. The face-to-face interviews laced throughout the movie are fascinating and often laugh-out-loud funny. Ask people to talk dirty and you don't know what they'll say.
  30. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Those who aren't inclined to lambaste will surely have some stimulating conversations after the film is over.
  31. Compared to "Ray," which takes Ray Charles' unique life story and manages to make it feel like a cliche, Kinsey is total sophistication and nuance.
  32. It's sober, never flashy or exciting but always engrossing.
  33. A mature biopic as entertaining as it is timely.
  34. 83
    Controversy aside, there's no denying that Kinsey was a pivotal figure in 20th-century America, and one whose fascinating story makes for a fascinating film.
  35. Condon's direction is steady and fearless, Neeson and Linney are individually excellent and together they create an inspiring chemistry for a truly adventurous marriage.
  36. Liam Neeson has never had a richer character to play on screen -- including his landmark role in "Schindler's List" -- and has never displayed such formidable energy and virtuosity.
  37. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Lively, sometimes funny and, inevitably, provocative.
  38. If it lacks a certain fuzzy warmth, Kinsey makes up for the shortfall with spirited and (for a commercial movie) amazingly candid vigor. It's an alert, lively movie with a crackling performance by Liam Neeson.
  39. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    It's a new Neeson as Dr. Alfred Kinsey, all spiky-haired and harried, and he's enormously appealing in the role.
  40. 70
    Opening too late for the election but still one the year's most politically relevant movies, Condon's earnestly middlebrow biopic is an argument for tolerance and diversity.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. Jan 13, 2011
    This movie seeks to explain the roots of American 20th century prudence towards sexuality, also showing how this kind of (non-)education leadThis movie seeks to explain the roots of American 20th century prudence towards sexuality, also showing how this kind of (non-)education lead to the emotional and physical suffering of many. Kinsey includes topics such as feminism, homosexuality, and problems of scientific research. Kinsey seeks to liberate sexuality, but also shows that social constraints regarding sex (ranging from adultery to zoophilia) do have the purpose of preventing that someone gets hurt. Eventually the film compares marriage to a happy tree. The tree is not free due to being rooted, but having roots is a nice thing in itself for we humans strive to overcome nihilism with love. Full Review »
  2. AbbyL
    Jul 3, 2007
    Very complex and interesting view.
  3. TonyS.
    Feb 4, 2006
    Moving, complex, educational, and fully satisfying. Neeson and Linney head up as good a cast as you can get. Compelling both as a tribute to Moving, complex, educational, and fully satisfying. Neeson and Linney head up as good a cast as you can get. Compelling both as a tribute to the modern scientific spirit and as a critique of pre-modern moralistic rigidity. Full Review »