Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty
logical thinking and codebreaking using mathematics and mathematicians
importance of perseverance
Alan Turing (Wikipedia biography)
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer
GAY—What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?
What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.
What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer
Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
Benedict Cumberbatch … Alan Turing
Keira Knightley … Joan Clarke
Matthew Goode … Hugh Alexander
Mark Strong … Stewart Menzies
Charles Dance … Commander Denniston
Allen Leech … John Cairncross
Tuppence Middleton … Helen
Rory Kinnear … Nock
Steven Waddington … Supt Smith
Tom Goodman-Hill … Sergeant Staehl
Matthew Beard … Peter Hilton
See all »
|Director||Morten Tyldum—“Headhunters” (2011)|
Black Bear Pictures
|Distributor||The Weinstein Company|
“Behind every code is an Enigma.”
“The Imitation Game” presents the life of Alan Turing, a mathematical genius who worked with the British forces in World War II to develop a machine that could crack the Germans’ cryptography method called Enigma. The movie succeeds in depicting Turing’s work in a way that can engage a wide audience, while remaining relatable to audiences involved with computer science and mathematics. The closing credits include a disclaimer that the movie is not committed to complete historical accuracy, and some elements of the story do seem designed for a movie, but it is a strong film with depth to the personalities of the characters, a suspenseful plot, a musical score that fits the nature of the movie well, and even some humor.
Those who have studied computer science or computational theory will find dialog they can relate to. Turing often describes his machine in terms of everyday life and common-sense problem solving, which makes its technical merit doubtful to many people he encounters. I’m a teaching assistant for a programming class, and we often introduce programming concepts by talking about everyday tasks like cooking or driving. Computer science is primarily about logic and problem-solving techniques, with coding and math being the means to an end, and “The Imitation Game” brings out this principle very well.
Positive messages in this movie include the importance of perseverance when projects face difficulties and willingness to work as a team. The movie portrays Turing as a socially-awkward geek whose technological ideas seem a bit fanatical to his co-workers and supervisor. Early on, there is much tension and lack of cooperation between him and his team, but he gets on better terms with them later, which, at one point, saves his project.
For Christian audiences, a remark that could stimulate discussion is when Turing says “God didn’t win the war, we did.” In a relative sense, that could be true. However, I believe the Bible indicates that the work of God is not confined to supernatural phenomena that directly change the course of events. Ephesians 1:11 (NRSV) states that God “accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will,” and Romans 9:21 speaks of people being created for special purposes. Through some mysterious planning of God, that is hard to comprehend, I believe we arrive in this world with unique traits given to us for the time and place in which we live.
Alan Turing had a unique vision for codebreaking that at first seemed impossible to many, but the implementation of his ideas was a critical part of the Allies’ victory. Biblically, I can see such accomplishments as being part of God’s design. Furthermore, I know there are many Christians who feel that their faith is putting them at odds with their peers, but Turing’s success could be an inspiration to continue pursuing what they believe is right, even if others are doubtful.
An element of the movie that may be of concern to Christians is the subject of Turing’s homosexuality. After the war, he is prosecuted by the British government for homosexuality and forced to undergo hormonal therapy or else face arrest. The treatment causea him physiological problems, and, although his real world cause of death is not known with certainty, the movie assumes the theory of suicide. Although I cannot know the filmmakers’ intentions, the movie does not strike me as making a statement in the modern debate over homosexuality and government policy. Clearly, the British government’s prosecution of Turing was intended to be viewed negatively, but a return to such policy is not something I see advocated by either conservatives or liberals today.
From a moviemaking standpoint, “The Imitation Game” is one of only a few movies in which I do not know of anything to criticize. However, I recommend viewer discretion due to some content described below.
Violence: Thera are several WWII bombing scenes. Turing’s suicide is revealed textually, rather than being enacted, and there are a few scenes of physical aggression between angry characters.
Language counts (approx.): Mild obscenities: 23 (sometimes spoken directly to people as insults), God’s name as an interjection: 9, Christ’s name as an interjection: 4
Sexual Content: A few sexual innuendos and a crude anatomical remark. Frequent mention of homosexuality, mostly pertaining to how Turing would lose his job, or have an unsuccessful marriage, if his orientation was revealed.
Substance use: Several bar scenes and smoking cigarettes.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.