A Theological Monologue Concerning “The Imitation Game”

A few months ago I was privileged enough to be able to see a film I’ve been wanting to watch for quite some time. Namely, The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

Let me just say that watching this movie nearly tore my heart out, and I loved it so much that I teared up when I saw the ending in sight.

To begin, The Imitation Game is about Alan Turing, a gay mathematician who broke the Nazi code Enigma, which essentially won World War II for the allies. I wasn’t sure if I would end up liking this film, but it really touched my soul and tore some heartstrings.

It made me come to some conclusions. It made my cry. Really hard. It made me not only cry with physical tears, but as Rochester says of Jane, “your heart weeps blood.” Alan Turing made my heart weep blood. And I’m so glad I decided to watch this film.

And I’d like to encourage you to, as well! It was an incredible story with amazing actors, a brilliant score by Alexandre Desplat, striking cinematography, and lovable characters (not to mention the almighty Brickabrack Crinklesnatch).

Maybe you’ll feel the same way I did, and maybe you won’t.

But I’m here to just explain—in the best way this aspiring theologian can—why I saw The Imitation Game as such a powerful film and an opportunity to write a theology of love for all you lovely readers.

So, let’s begin.

Alan Turing. Oh my heart.

Alan is an amazing person. He’s different from his childhood, and he has a mind above his peers. He’s gifted intellectually, and this makes him a target for bullying at the boarding school he attends in England. He’s persecuted nonstop for how odd and brilliant he is.

The only one who gives Alan a chance, protects him, and loves him is Christopher.

And Alan falls romantically in love with Christopher.

Do I believe homosexuality is a sin? Yes—yes I do. I’m not here to say that this film changed my belief in that. Just keep reading, my Christian friends. *and don’t look at me with those buggy eyes, please.* Open-mindedness here is key.

Alan and Christopher become close friends; like brothers. Alan wonders if his romantic feelings for Christopher are reciprocated, but before he has the chance to tell his friend how much he means to him, Christopher dies tragically and unexpectedly.

Alan is left alone and heartbroken to face the bullies of the world.

To make a long story short, Alan grows up, goes on to become a brilliant mathematician (his IQ was 185, ladies and gentlemen), develops a machine to combat the Nazi supercode Enigma, and wins the war for the allies.

All throughout this time, though, Alan is something of a human computer. He’s incredibly uncomfortable in his own skin, he’s awkward (and sometimes just inhumanly blunt) around others, his people skills are nonexistent, and he doesn’t know what it means to love someone or to be loved.

But that’s why I loved (and I mean LOVED) Keira Knightley’s character in this movie: Joan Clarke.

Do I think Alan loved Joan? Yes, yes I do. I also think Joan loved Alan. I actually don’t have any doubts about that. I don’t think he was sexually attracted to Joan, but I honestly and sincerely believe that Alan loved her. And I know she loved him: the crazy, awkward, troubled genius that he was.

He proposed to her, for goodness sake.

And I ship them so hard…

Joan is the only one who really loves Alan. She does not resort to caring about his anti-social awkwardness and his OCD behavior. She cares for him when the rest of the team they work with can’t stand him. She teaches him to love and shows him what love is.

Because here’s the thing, my friends: Alan doesn’t know love.

He has never been loved.

The only time he was ever loved by anyone was by Christopher, and Christopher died when he was only a boy.

He was bullied. Mocked. Shunned. Christopher came through all that darkness and showed him friendship unlike any other Alan had experienced.

If this film taught me anything, it’s that the broken people in this world are never “born.” The villains in every story are not “born.” The confused, turmoiled, agonized geniuses are not “born.”

No one is ever born like that.

They are made.

I see people going by me everyday. Sad, lonely, tortured faces, walking with downcast eyes and slumping souls. Are they different? Of course they are. But my question is, are they human?

And the answer to that is also yes. A loud, jubilant yes!

If I can be anyone to anyone on this earth, let me be a lover of the broken. A creator of joy. A contributor of encouragement.

To laugh at someone is to create in them a monster. To scoff at an idea is to instill in them a heart of insecurity. To make a joke over someone’s interest is to frighten them from themselves. It is the world who confuses man’s identity. It is the world who rattles the cage of anger and strife. It is the world who creates the serial killer, the liar, the prostitute, the homosexual.

It is the world who gives me my scars, and some have scars that cut deeper than others.

What will I do when someone comes to me with bleeding, dripping wounds?

Will I rub a salve of love into their skin, or spit into their hearts?

I’ve been reading Mere Christianity for a class I have at the university called “C.S. Lewis and the Christian Faith.” My mind is quite on fire philosophically with all of Lewis’s ideas and Christian theology. It’s quite fun, to be honest.

What I read this past week, however, made me think of my dear Alan Turing. No one knew who he was, where he had come from, what he had been through, and what had made him what he was. But Joan, my girl Joan, didn’t need to know any of that for her to just love the poor genius.

Lewis writes:

Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge.

From Mere Christianity, “Morality and Psychoanalysis”

I don’t know where he comes from.

I don’t know where she’s been.

I can’t imagine some of the things that they’ve seen.

I will never be able to relive what they’ve lived.

Are they right? I’m not saying they are. Am I saying they deserve love? No, I’m not; because I don’t deserve love either. None of us do. If reality had had its way, I’d be burning alive in the fires of hell at this moment.

But God loved me. And He has called me to love others.

He has called me to live like Joan Clarke; unafraid and undaunted by the weird, anti-social, gay man, but determined in every aspect to smile, care for, and love him.

Because, in truth, my friends, Joan Clarke helped me love Alan Turing. Her love for him transformed his entire life, and he even proposed to her after a short time. Again, coming back to my original question: do I believe Alan Turing loved Joan Clarke (at least in the film)? Yes, yes I do. He was drawn to her love. He was drawn to her ability to see past his crusty, odd exterior and into his heart. She saw a human there.

And she loved him.

And as I live, may the memory of Alan Turing help me to see the same.

Retrieved from The British Library’s Online Archives

Amen.


Well, there it is, my friends. I hope you all were able to enjoy a bit of a fangirl/theological rant/Ted Talk/blog post about one of my favorite new films.

I can’t tell you how much the film moved me. It was incredibly inspiring, and Cumberbatch deserved that Golden Globe for such a heart-wrenching performance. I cried, friends. And it takes a lot for me to cry during a movie. I know the Lord certainly used it to speak to me, and I hope you found my theological ideas interesting and at least thought-provoking.

Have you seen The Imitation Game? What did you think? Do you think you’ll go and see it after reading my little posty?

I love you all! I’ll post a life-update/college ramble soon, and I’m also planning on finishing the Europe Chronicles and soon I hope to work on a Star Wars fangirl ramble ft. a tiny vlog about my loves/dislikes regarding The Last Jedi.

Auf Wiederesehen!

Emily 🙂

5 thoughts on “A Theological Monologue Concerning “The Imitation Game”

Add yours

  1. Can I just say how much I adore this post??? You hit on the very things that I love about Joan and Alan, the very thing that makes the whole movie so heartwrenching and beautiful. You’re also touching on one of the big things the Lord seems to be impressing on my heart these days–namely, loving and appreciating those among us who tend to be awkward and “inhumanly blunt.”

    Also, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are just FANTASTIC in this movie. Joan is, without a doubt, my favorite character I’ve seen of Keira Knightley’s; she’s so determined, intelligent, spunky, and kind. As for Benedict’s portrayal of Alan Turing, it is FLAWLESS. The man is one of the great talents of our age.

  2. Oh, I’m so glad you loved it! I always love comments like these. Yay!

    And yes, it’s something the Lord has been working on me with as well – especially going to a secular college right now in a pretty liberal atmosphere…it gets kind of suffocating after a while, but I just remember Alan Turing and my heart begins to swell.

    AND yessss Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing! I love him! And this was actually a movie I liked Keira Knightley in. I usually don’t particularly enjoy her in films, but I liked her in this. They were both amazing in it, and I have such a greater reverence for Cumberbatch after seeing this. There’s some moments in there are just GOLDEN.

  3. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

    I think this C. S. Lewis quote splendidly sums up your point here, Emily – that no one we meet is ever “simple,” never “just the bad guy,” “just the thief,” “just the homosexual.”
    They’re *humans*, the crown jewel of God’s creation, the one thing in all of the universe he was so unwilling to lose to Satan’s perversions that he was willing to die and bear all the weight of their punishment for. No more or less worthy of love than any of them. If not for the sovereign grace of God, I’d be the one in their very shoes today.

    So I think about that quote a lot. It’s the way I’ve been trying to live my life lately, even (especially) towards the people I wouldn’t naturally seek out in friendship. Finding something worth loving in someone can be hard, especially in those who might be deemed “unlovable” by the world. But once you’ve found it and resolved to hold tight to it, oh that person becomes so beautiful . And you begin to understand just the tiniest bit how God sees them, and yet remain in awe at the realization that even this is just a tiny fraction of the love he loves them with, the worth he places on them, the lengths he’d go to to bring them back to his side at last.

    I loved this blog post, thank you so much for writing and sharing it!! I’ve never seen The Imitation Game myself, but it’s now going at the top of my list of movies to watch and discuss with my mom and sister.
    (And apologies for going on a mini theological rant of my own in this comment – this topic has been really close to my heart lately and I feel pretty passionately about it. 😋)

    Have a blessed weekend!!
    💛 Shay

    1. (oh nice, WordPress has thoroughly chewed on my formatting for this comment. In a world where we’ve got AIs being built into our glasses, I’d be thrilled just to have an easy italics option for comments… 😝)

    2. Please, dear friend, never apologize for long comments. Those always make my day, and it’s so exciting for me to have readers who like to discuss these things. And never call it a rant: it’s a burst of inspiration (*grins*)

      So true – I love the Lewis quote you shared, and I’m going to be using that in the future. SO good. I feel like what should be known about us as Christians is “our love.” We will be known by our love, not by our dislikes or our hates. Obviously we stand for what we believe, but we do so with love first and foremost. I loved reading your thoughts.

      And loving “those” people (lol we all have them) even when we don’t want to, is something that will create love in us for them. This was also a topic Lewis writes about in Mere Christianity. And I love it so much! Loving when it hurts, amen? Because the Lord did the same for us…and it cost him everything.

      All in all, I loved reading your comment! It brought me joy.

      Looking forward to reading more of yours in the future! Talk to you soon!

      Cheers,

      Emily 🙂

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