*possible spoilers, proceed with caution!*
“Are you paying attention? Good. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things.”
This is the opening line of the movie The Imitation Game, which centres itself around the story of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who cracked the Nazi enigma code during WWII. He and a group of other linguists and code breakers spend two years building a machine called Christopher capable of sorting through millions upon millions of possible settings for the enigma machine that could be used to crack intercepted Nazi radio communications.
Turing is an eccentric character to say the least. Incredibly intelligent, fairly arrogant and socially awkward, he reminded me a bit of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the acting was really good and I found myself silently egging on the characters, totally engrossed in complexity of the enigma code and the puzzle of trying to solve it. When they finally did, I actually said “wow” aloud in the theatre. The whole concept appealed to my curiosity. The part that broke my heart was at the end. Turing is arrested for being a homosexual, fired from the job he loves, and put on government mandated hormone therapy that changes who he is, to the point where he can’t even complete a crossword puzzle. He ends up killing himself.
I think we as humans are inherently afraid of the things we don’t understand. Most of us cannot even begin to fathom the way Turing’s brain worked or how he came up with the things he did. Why didn’t I know his name before today? I knew about Einstein and Churchill and Steve Jobs. Historians predict that the cracking of the enigma code ended the war 2 years sooner and saved 14 million lives more than if it had never been solved. And yet I didn’t even know the name of the man who did that, who was the first person to dream of a machine like the one I am writing on at this moment. But he was odd and he was gay. His was judged by his perceived shortcomings rather than praised for his incredible talents and because of that he was lost to our world too soon. Looking at his accomplishments in the 41 years he lived, who knows what he could have done if his life had lasted 60, 70, 80 years? We won’t ever know.
The movie itself was incredible and so interesting to watch however more than that it made me think about the world I live in today. We consistently as a society look for ways to judge each other rather than admire each other. Who cares how talented someone is, they’re ugly. Who cares how intelligent someone is, I don’t agree with their lifestyle. Who cares how kind hearted someone is, they annoy me. And we isolate and push each other away instead of coming together as a community. What if we all helped patch the holes in each other’s weaknesses? Used each other’s strengths to overcome our weaknesses? I’m kind of off on a tangent at this point but it really broke my heart to watch the story of a brilliant man crumble because people couldn’t look past their own bias’ to see the good he brought to the table.
“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”
Who are you misjudging?
P.S. It’s a beautiful film. I’ll see it again and I think you should too 🙂