Oscar season is here, which means a flurry of fact-based movies are on their way to theaters. EW is fact-checking these films—everything from The Theory of Everything to Wild—to see just how true-to-life they turned out.
The Imitation Game takes on the life of mathematician and cryptographer Alan Turing, depicting his life as a stream of tragedy and triumph. Turing is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and the film centers around Turing’s difficulties concealing his sexuality in a time when homosexuality was against the law, as well as his relationships with his coworkers as he tries to crack Enigma, the German military code machine.
Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma, by mathematician and author Andrew Hodges, the film begins with the police investigation into a burglary at Turing’s home, which leads to the discovery of Turing’s homosexuality, which Turing is subsequently arrested for and sentenced to chemical castration in 1952. The police interrogation of Turing serves as a narrative device to flash back to his crucial work during World War II as well as a glimpse into a profound friendship during his teenage schoolboy years. But like any large-scale Hollywood production, the film does take liberties with dramatizing the action of the film, sometimes amplifying drama over historical fact. Warning: Spoilers galore.