The Imitation Game

Book vs. Movie


The book recounting Alan Turing’s life is remarkable and interesting (sometimes going beyond my comprehension, because I am quite horrible at math).  The movie was based on the biography but it seemed to make more sense to me.  The real question is how these two compare.  Obviously, the book states facts and includes accounts from others about how Turing lived his very secretive life (unfortunately, many documents that included him were destroyed).  The film was a Hollywood rendition, which glorified Turing (and rightfully so!) but it added parts that either weren’t necessarily accurate or never happened.  The reason I know this is because I had read the section that had involved him in the war and cracking the code but in the DVD, it played out differently.  The most exciting part of Turing’s life was not spelled out clearly in his biography.  The movie showed how Turing approached the problem with his team and how dramatic the breakthrough became—but did it really happen how it was portrayed in the film?  No.  The book is very long and—truth be told, I sadly did not finish it but I would very much like to, eventually.  What I mean to say here, is that The Imitation Game was one of my favorite DVDs from 2014 but if it was not true to the biography, were we being fooled?  The movie was completely engaging because of how crazy the story came together and the hardships Turing’s team had to face when they did discover that they could solve Enigma.  It seems as though the things that made me enjoy this film the most were the fictional elements, which were created for cinematic drama.  Turing was a closeted homosexual and did get engaged to his friend Joan Clarke but other moments were written in to create tension and conflict (such as when Turing discovers a spy on their team, or when he is almost kicked off the team).  In this case, I would suggest that if you wanted to read what little there is to know about Turing’s real life (and even at that, it is many pages), you should definitely pick up the book.  If you wanted to see a movie with great acting and a clever/entertaining plot, watch The Imitation Game—knowing that it is loosely based on Turing’s life.  I only found out about this amazing man because of the film and I am sure there were others like me.  I wanted to learn more about him, so I started reading.  I think that was the most important point of the on-screen version.


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