Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Imitation Game

I was blog-surfing yesterday and enjoyed a review of the movie American Sniper at At Rivercrest Cottage.  Because I don't usually like "war movies", I saw American Sniper reluctantly . . . to keep DH company and to have an excuse to indulge in a bucket of that bad-for-you movie popcorn. I was surprised; the movie was very well-done.

While at American Sniper, we saw the trailer for The Imitation Game and I knew right away that I wanted to see it. So this time, DH went to keep me company and we shared the buttery popcorn.

This movie was so good that I cried.

The movie is based on the true story of Alan Turing and his colleagues who broke the German Enigma code, helping the Allies to win WW II. The movie was overpowering as it explored the "beautiful mind" of Turing as he struggled with his genius, homosexuality, and an asperger-like inability to understand social cues.

The movie reminded me of how far we have come in empowering women, accepting homosexuality, and embracing technology. By creating a machine to decode Enigma, Turing actually developed the first computer.

Right after the war, my Dad worked on a classified project for the NSA. It involved taking what was learned from Enigma and its later version, Ultra, and developing the first computer, initially for intelligence use. Later, Dad went on to work on Univac, Remington Rand's first computer for commercial use. I remember Dad taking me to see the computer when I was a child; it was huge, filling up a very large room.

Dad  1941

Dad never talked about his work during the war until more than 50 years later. I thought that was just coincidence . . . it wasn't.  My sister, Nancy, and I interviewed Dad on Veteran's Day 2003 and he explained how he was chosen for the project he worked on (he was good at crossword puzzles!) and how he continued his work with the NSA until 1952. 
Dad was 80 then. He slid a scrap of paper from Nancy's notebook and, with a hand trembling from the effects of Parkinson's disease, drew something that looked like this:

 He was drawing the design of the Enigma machine, from memory.

"You will lie to your friends, your family, everyone you meet, about what it is you really do."  - The Imitation Game

"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one imagines."  - The Imitation Game

There are some good movies in the theatres right now, including American Sniper and  Unbroken.
Surprisingly, I thought the Imitation Game was the best of the three.

I hope you'll get a chance to see it.



  1. I really want to see it as I am a fan of Cumberbatch. And I miss taking myself to movies during the week...maybe next week!

  2. We loved The Imitation Game and found the whole story fascinating. We are fans of Benedict Cumberbatch which is why we went to see the film, but were intrigued throughout the movie by the social issues that prevailed at the time.

    How exciting that your father was a part of history!

  3. I haven't been to the movies in so long, but you've got me wanting to go see that one, Cheryl. How fascinating that your father was a player in that important era of the beginning of modern day computers!

  4. Thanks for the review. I don't think I'll see American Sniper, but will definitely watch for the Imitation Game. I have been nicely surprised recently after watching some of the more recent movies on On Demand. We never go to the theater...Terry falls asleep LOL

  5. Cheryl, I saw American Sniper
    with my husband last weekend,
    then saw The Imitation Game
    last night with him and our 16
    year old son. LOVED both of
    them. Wow, so cool that your
    dad was a member of the oh
    so GREAT generation and was
    part of this and the birth of the
    computer. Super cool. Thanks
    for sharing his story!

    xo Suzanne


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