In 1948, Indiana University professor Alfred Kinsey wrote the publishing equivalent of the atom bomb, entitled 'Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male'.
Based on thousands of face-to-face interviews, the so-called 'Kinsey Report' was an exhaustive study of the nation's sexual practices.
Inevitably, it shocked and it appalled and it sold like hot cakes.
How a scientist (masterfully embodied by Neeson) whose expertise lay with the humble gall wasp became a sexual revolutionary is revealed in this deftly handled drama.
A strained relationship with his puritanical father (Lithgow), wedding night difficulties with his wife (Linney), and the college's head-in-the-sand attitude to sex education all impelled Kinsey to bring matters of the flesh out into the open.
With his research team (Hutton, O'Donnell and the admirable Sarsgaard), Kinsey launched his crusade. America was about to be enlightened.
Of course, many found Kinsey's work subversive and morally bankrupt. So when Americans found out what their mums and grannies were up to in his follow-up tome 'Sexual Behaviour In The Human Female', the book flopped and Kinsey fell from grace.
In movie terms, Kinsey’s obsession is both a strength and a weakness. The dramatic highs come as the work puts his wife and colleagues under strain, but his life as a father is glossed over and the dialogue is slightly one-note. All anyone ever talks about is sex.
Despite this, titillation-seekers will be disappointed. Mirroring Kinsey’s methodology, the film conducts itself in a frank, non-judgmental and mature manner.
By forgoing the 'nudge, nudge' factor, the movie is free to explore deeper issues – this is a film for grown-ups.