World War II is raging and the German forces seem unstoppable due to the touted ‘unbreakable’ encrypted code that enables them to relay messages unhindered. Genius mathematician, Alan Turing, joins a team of cryptographers and linguists to crack the code and has an idea to create a machine that will do this within seconds and therefore decrypt every message that the Germans send. He battles to convince officials to make his revolutionary idea a reality, but also battles to hide his personal life. With laws that criminalise homosexuality, he faces an impossible choice which has the potential to destroy him.

The Imitation Game (2014) – Director: Morten Tyldum

Is The Imitation Game appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 114 mins

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode, Kiera Knightley

Genre: Drama


‘The Imitation Game’ tells the tale of Alan Turing, a man whose brilliance was tainted by his feelings of isolation and frustration. His remarkable achievements helped to bring World War II to an end an estimated two years early, saving millions of lives but, possibly due to the secrecy surrounding his vital part in breaking the enigma code – even after the war had finished, Turing died a broken and defeated man. Being as much of a biopic of Turing as a drama about the enigma code, Morten Tyldum’s ‘The Imitation Game’ manages to remain gripping even after the excitement of the code-breaking is over. By making Turing’s homosexuality a major part of the story he appears to be much more of a human character than just an unusual man who was misunderstood.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s star performance as Turing has to be mentioned of course as an unlikely hero who is treated poorly by the very people his intellect helps to save. However, special mention has to go to Alex Lawther who plays Turing as a young teenager, a lonely boy at boarding school. His struggle to be accepted and the strong bond he develops with his new friend is incredibly believable and his stiff upper lip in times of hardship is sometimes heart-rending. It is a shame that the adult Turing’s team is quite disjointed with some being overly prominent and others being barely there but this doesn’t take away from an excellent movie that portrays a real man who went through real triumph and hardship.

‘The Imitation Game’ is a thought-provoking glimpse into the past that gives pause for reflection on our attitudes (both past and present) towards those who are deemed different. While not exactly a popcorn munching action packed movie, this is a film that will be enjoyed both by those interested in the history of the enigma code and also anyone who can relate to the real-life drama of Turing’s life.


Turing’s troubled youth at a boy’s boarding school was blighted by vicious bullies. One scene shows him being forced into a small space under the floorboards and the bullies nailing the boards down. He is in a great deal of distress, screaming, crying and banging on the boards, desperate to get out. This is quite unexpected and this level of menace from young boys could be upsetting for some children.

The majority of the movie is set during World War II where London was regularly bombed by the German forces. There are scenes of the bombs dropping and exploding, families huddled together in air raid shelters and the aftermath of levelled buildings with people sitting and walking through the devastation.

The team that Turing is working with is faced with an impossible decision and have to let hundreds of people die in order to protect a vital secret. This decision directly affects one of the team and his pleas for them to change their minds become quite upsetting.

One character talks to his friends about a previous sexual conquest, this includes some innuendo and has several mentions of oral sex. No explicit language is used and a lot of kids may not understand what he is talking about, however it could be obvious to older children and teenagers.

There are a lot of references to homosexuality and several slurs are used towards Alan. He speaks of it in a very matter of fact way but others call him names and often react with disgust. There is also mention of a male prostitute when one character says that ‘men pay him for a go’.



‘The Imitation Game’ explores the life of Alan Turing in a very factual but fascinating way. It is unlikely to appeal to young children but may be interesting for older children, especially to help them understand how badly gay people have been treated in the past as well as showcasing a vital, but generally under-sung, element in the Allies victory in World War II. Due to some adult themes and the lack of exciting action, we feel that this movie is most appropriate for kids aged 11 and over.

  • Violence: 2/5 (scenes of buildings being bombed and people being affected by it, one character is punched in the face)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (one character dies and a person who is close to them has to hide their grief but the audience knows that this has devastated them. Turing struggles to cope with the effects of a decision he has made and his distress is clear to see)
  • Fear Factor: 0/5
  • Sexual Content: 2/5       
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (some mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy. Several homophobic names and slurs are used)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (the team are informed that what they are doing is top-secret and that they could be executed for high treason if they are found to be leaking information)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of espionage, sexism, homophobia, hiding an important part of yourself from the rest of the world, teamwork and the burden of knowledge.

Words by Laura Record

The Imitation Game [Blu-ray]

New From: £5.10 GBP In Stock

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