Movie Kinsey Film Review

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Kinsey Movie

The movie Kinsey represented the life and work of scientist Alfred C. Kinsey accurately in many respects, although there were a number of factual omissions and misrepresentations made by the filmmakers. In some cases, details of Kinsey's life and work were left out for what appears to be a simply case of brevity -- it would be impossible for filmmakers to depict all of the details of a person's life in just a couple of hour. For example, the movie did not include the death of Kinsey's first child at the age of five from diabetes (The Kinsey Institute, n.d.). While this would certainly have been a significant event in his life and likely impacted him substantially, nevertheless, it is not directly relevant to his work (or his personal development that impacted his work), thus the film may have left it out for that reason.

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Some factual information about Kinsey's life that would seem to be relevant was nevertheless left out. For example, Kinsey received undergraduate degrees in both botany and psychology (Alfred Kinsey, 2010). While he focused his early career in the field of botany, with his well-known studies of gall wing moths, his psychology training did not make it as much of a stretch that he began to teach and do research in the field of human sexuality. However, it likely heightened the drama of the story in the film to depict him as purely an entymologist, which would appear to make him more of a target for critical attacks, or as a means to depict him as more "coldly" scientific in his approach. The character of Clyde Martin in the movie even attacks him at one point, saying "are we all just insects to you? What about love?"

TOPIC: Film Review on Movie Kinsey Assignment

In other cases, the film appears to expand or enhance Kinsey's life story, to serve the purposes of good storytelling and dramatic impact. For example, we know that Kinsey did have a rift with his father during his time studying at Stephens Institute of Technology, when he defied his father's wishes by leaving Stephens and attending Bowdoin College for his studies in science. We also know that Kinsey's father was a prominent and devout Methodist. However, the film's depictions of Alfred S. Kinsey (the father) as preaching on the evils of modern conveniences such as "zippers" may have been hyperbole (Flynn, 2004).

The depiction of Kinsey's showdown with his father where he accuses his father of being a "prig" who is "hated" by his colleagues was likely fabricated for dramatic effect. Additionally, in the movie Kinsey and his father had some form of reconciliation later in life, following his mother's funeral, culminating in his father submitting to a "sex history" interview. These events did not happen, in fact, Kinsey's father "divorced his wife in Reno, NV. Kinsey never contacted his father after the divorce." (The Kinsey Institute n.d.)

Certain key aspects of the film were largely accurate in terms of the facts of Kinsey's life. For example, his relationship with his wife, and the early difficulties they had with sex. "Their wedding night did not go as planned, and they struggled for almost a year before consummating their marriage" after Clara was finally diagnosed with a minor physiological issue that was easily fixed. (American Experience, 2005). The depiction of Kinsey's professional activities regarding sexuality, such as the "marriage course" that he taught at Indiana University and his burgeoning interest in researching the topic, are also reasonably accurate. (American Experience, 2005).

With respect to Kinsey's research staff, his relationships with them, and the atmosphere that Kinsey created among all of them and their wives, the film is also accurate. It is true that Kinsey entered into a homosexual liaison with Clyde Martin, although Kinsey reportedly seduced the younger man (American Experience, 2005), rather than the opposite scenario in the movie. Clyde did also seek Kinsey's permission to have a sexual relationship with Kinsey's wife Clara, as shown in the movie. Kinsey also encouraged his staff to engage in open marriages, a practice which did, however, lead to an intense affair between staff member Paul Gebhardt and Martin's wife Alice. As the movie showed, "Kinsey had… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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