Film Review: The Imitation Game


This is a photograph of Alan Turing, an historical figure who is the subject of the film The Imitation Game. Mr. Turing was a homosexual in England at a time when homosexual conduct was illegal. It seems odd to point that out, given the shift in societal norms lately. I only point it out because it is a plot point in the film.

The film weaves the fact of Mr. Turing’s sexuality into the screenplay, but viewers can watch the film, as I did, and conclude that his sexuality did not define him so much as his quirky, forceful personality, and his genius.

Watching the film, it occurred to me that it must be intended to convey something more than just Mr. Turing’s achievements. It seems intended to focus those achievements through the lens of his sexuality; perhaps to say that what he achieved is all the more impressive if considered in the context of him being a victim of bias and ignorance.

Mr. Turing led a team of cryptologists charged with breaking the Nazi encryption technology known as Enigma during World War II. In the process, Mr. Turing invented an electro-mechanical precursor to what is now commonly referred to as the computer, thereby saving millions of lives by bringing an early end to the war.

I recommend seeing The Imitation Game. All of the performances by the actors are excellent and the screenplay is thrilling when you consider that cryptology could easily be a dry topic.

The only thing about the film that gave me pause is the focus on Mr. Turing’s sexuality. Not that being gay is a bad thing, but the notion of him being a victim seems inconsistent with the fact that he is a hero. Granted, it would have been a different film if Mr. Turing’s sexuality had been kept out of a screenplay that is primarily about his momentous achievements. I can’t help but wonder if he would have preferred it that way.