Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Imitation Game Review

Netflix recently added "The Imitation Game" to it's line up of movies.  I'm a huge WWII history buff and this piece of history, the cracking of the Enigma code, is one that like the Navaho Code Talkers has only recently come to light.

The problem with this movie is its historical inaccuracy.  The story revolves around Alan Turing, considered the Father of the computer, but it pits Turing against his colleagues.  This isn't historically accurate at all.  In fact, his colleagues actually worked alongside Turing in developing the machine.  They weren't opposed to it.  And similar to the movie, one of his colleagues made revolutionary suggestions to improve it (different person than the character in the film).  Likewise they from the beginning decided to attack snippets of code.

This bothers me, but what made me really upset is the fact that the Cumberbatch, the actor portraying Turing, made Turing out to have autism or Asperger's.  There's no evidence that Turing was autistic.  The people who knew him said as much.  Turing enjoyed many friendships, understood social relationships, and enjoyed jokes according to those who knew him just like neurotypical people do.

So what is Cumberbatch saying with his performance?  That gay people are autistic?  Currently autistics make up 1% of the population and gay people make up roughly the same number.  While there are gay people who are also autistics, there's no correlation between the two.

Or is Cumberbatch implying that true genius's are autistic?  That's simply not true either.  Autism wasn't diagnosed separately from other mental health issues until the late 1960s.  Research into autism or Aspergers didn't happen until the late 1930s.  So understandable there probably were people who were on the spectrum back then who didn't know it.  Being autistic doesn't automatically make you a genius nor does being a genius make you automatically autistic.  There's no correlation there either.

So what was Cumberbatch trying to do?  I haven't the foggiest clue, but his autistic-like performance does irritate me because he's portraying a real person who's not known to be autistic in the slightest.  If Cumberbatch wanted to portray an autistic person, why didn't he find a movie that is about an actual autistic?  Or he was looking to make Turing out to be eccentric? There are other ways to do that besides making the man seem socially inept.

If you want my opinion, skip the movie and read Turing's biography.  Cumberbatch's performance doesn't do justice to the real man.

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