Movie Review: The Imitation Game

Last year I posted a review of  “The Enigma” the book which the movie “The Imitation Game” is said to be based.

The day after Christmas I went to see the movie.

That’s right, I went out to the mall on THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS, which is only slightly less tortuous to my psyche than “Black Friday.”

I wanted to see it that bad.

I also wanted to like it SO BADLY, I waited nearly a month to write this review.

The Imitation Game is entertaining, well acted, and keeps one’s attention from start to finish.

Benedict Cumberbatch does an excellent job playing the character.  I loved the interactions between his character and Charles Dance’s as well as he and Matthew Goode. I have no objections to his best actor Oscar nomination.

“The Imitation Game” has a good message concerning judging differences and acceptance. It does. I tried to convince myself this and the acting and cinematography were good enough reason to like the movie and review it positively.

I did like the movie. I cannot review it positively.

Why?

It isn’t is the real story of Alan Turing or the work of Bletchley park.

Now I had heard ahead of time that there were changes to the story. I’m cool with that. I understand that when adapting something to the screen its often necessary to change things for time or story flow.

Believe me, “The Enigma” doesn’t flow well.

I also heard it was changed to make the issues in solving the code to be more simplistic. This I also get. Having read the book, I can attest the average movie goer isn’t going to want to sit through the explanations I read through.

I walked away from the movie wondering just what book this was supposed to be based on. It is not accurate to the book, nor to the time period. It doesn’t  realistically represent the work at Bletchley park, Alan’s relationships there, or most especially, the role Joan Clark played in Alan’s life.

The movie reduces Joan to a shallow plot vehicle. It is incorrect in how they met, how she was hired,  her parents lack of support, why and how they were engaged, how the engagement was broken off and the amount of time they spent together. Essentially, they erased Joan Clark’s legacy in order to give a shallow representation of Turing’s.

The same can be said for Alan’s childhood friend/love Christopher.

Christopher’s storyline is interspersed and also shallow. I don’t believe it accurately portrays their relationship nor the depth that his loss had on Alan as much as establishing he was bullied and gay.

There was also a spy story thrown in. I guess to make it more exciting? I don’t know.

This movie could have been made significantly better by using the same cast and making it a miniseries so as to fully explore the story.  I think real life stories can be dramatic, and also fairly accurate without being documentaries.

I am sure the movie will lead some people to learn more about Mr. Turing. However, many will walk away thinking that the story is spot on and not bother to dig any deeper.

It seems the “message” was more important than the actual man.

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As an aside, many watching and reviewing the  movie want to label Alan Turing with aspergers or autism spectrum disorder.  I do not think diagnosing the dead on second and third hand information is either accurate nor beneficial to living people with autism spectrum disorder.  Unlike Cumberbatch, my objections having nothing to do with ableist notions of “false hope” or speculation as to childhood neglect but because diagnosis is simply more than a relatives opinion or interpretations of interpretations of second hand reminiscences of behavior. Its like some crazy game of historical telephone where misconceptions and the stereotypes they re-enforce are no game.