Tag Archives: homosexuality

The Imitation Game – Review

9 Jan

While World War II raged on different battlefields around the world, a much quieter battle was going on behind the scenes. These battles, although quieter and nonviolent, were just as important as the battles going on on the front lines. This is where the story of The Imitation Game comes in, with the brilliant mind of Alan Turing working day and night to create a machine that could break the the Nazi enigma code. Churchill, himself, said Turing contributed the most to the war cause with his invention, which is a pretty huge deal I’d say. Still, The Imitation Game is also about Turing’s own personal war of acceptance which ultimately ended in tragedy.

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In 1939, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a genius mathematician and professor, finds his way to Bletchley Park to work with a group of England’s most brilliant minds in cracking the enigma code and save the lives of countless Allied troops. It soon becomes very clear that Turing doesn’t play well with others, and that in large part has to do with how he was bullied and tormented during the early years of his life. It also may have to do with the secrets about himself and his sexuality that he constantly hides in order to be able to keep up his work. He soon finds a friend in Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a newly hired codebreaker who has troubles of her own being a woman working in a man’s environment. As the war rages on, Turing and his codebreakers struggle to find the answer, but this is hardly the end of Turing’s troubles.

This is a brilliant movie for a lot of reasons. For one thing, this film works on the level of a really good spy movie with people from MI-6 floating around, Soviet spies, and plenty of other government secrets thrown into the mix. That in and of itself is enough to make a really entertaining and engaging movie, especially since the story and characters are all based on truth. This movie also works really well on the level of a much more personal story of Alan Turing and the discrimination he faced for being a homosexual, even though he was one of the most brilliant minds of the time and was responsible for shortening the war and saving countless lives.

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Matthew Goode, who played codebreaker Hugh Alexander in the film said that the film is about “Turing’s life and how as a nation we celebrated him as being a hero by chemically castrating him because he was gay.” I feel like even with all of the espionage and war, this movie is mainly about being different from what’s expected of you. Not only was Turing a homosexual, he was also socially inept and brilliant beyond comparison. His being different was one of the main factors that helped the Allies win World War II, but he was still condemned for his own personal ways of living. This is a theme that can be seen in a lot of different movies, with A Beautiful Mind is the same family as The Imitation Game, but I was surprised to see that this was not a pretentious movie at all.

While this movie really is great, there are a few things in it that could have been executed a little better. For one thing, there were lines that seemed to be pulled from the cheesiest, most inspiring Disney movies you could find. This is a historical movie that doesn’t need to have cheesy inspirational dialogue in there. That’s not how people talk and it was weird. I also wish that this movie was longer because I feel that starting in the middle, the movie just starts skimming through things in order to get everything in. If the movie was a half an hour longer, I feel like I’d have a better grip on the relationship of the codebreakers and Turing but also just a better idea of how he built his enigma breaking machine.

The Imitation Game may not be the best movie of the year, but it’s certainly in the top 10 best. Benedict Cumberbatch gives the best performance of his career so far, and Keira Knightley does great work as Turing’s anchor to reality. The film works as a spy film, but I’d rather look at it as a lesson in how to treat people who may not fit in quite as well as everyone else. It’s a lesson for people of all ages and times, but if that doesn’t float your boat, it’s still a really entertaining movie of spies, Nazis, and codes. It’s one of the best of 2014 and shouldn’t be missed.

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Dallas Buyers Club – Review

20 Jan

I feel like everyone in the world would agree with me that the mere thought of AIDS is enough to make your heart race a little faster. It’s a terrifying disease with horrible bodily effects which is really just slowly hammering nails into your coffin. In Dallas Buyers Club, I had the opportunity to see a character face this head on and instead of backing down and accepting his own death, he opts to survive. I have seen other films with AIDS as a plot point, but none were as powerful and moving than Dallas Buyers Club.

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Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is an electrician and cowboy, who is known amongst his friends as being outwardly homophobic and intolerant. His life is spent drinking, indulging in cocaine, and have lots and lots of sex. This fun and easy life style is shattered when he gets blood work done revealing that he has AIDS. Woodroof is automatically outcasted by his friends and coworkers, with only a sympathetic transgender Rayon (Jared Leto) to give him any support. Rayon is also suffering from AIDS and an addiction to drugs, so he begins working with Woodroof to smuggle medicine and vitamins unapproved by the FDA from Mexico and other countries to open a buyers club for AIDS victims. The FDA and local hospitals get wind of this and do what they can to stop Woodroof and promote their own drug, AZT, which despite saving a lot of lives, can have devastating side effects.

This movie is heavy. Like, really heavy. By the time the credits began to roll, I had a hell of a lot to think about. First of all, Dallas Buyers Club is one of those movies that makes you reflect on your own life and how it is you’re living it. In the beginning of the movie, the doctors only give Woodroof 30 days to live. Just getting that laid on you out of the blue would, to me, be too much to handle. I had a lot of “What would I do?” thoughts while I was watching this movie. I feel like that’s the backbone of this movie. The performances are great and the story itself is moving, but the real weight of the movie comes from putting the real life situations of these characters, and relating them to your own life and a very scary possibility that everyone has to be very mindful of.

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The themes in this movie stretch across more than just the AIDS epidemic, and I was really surprised about that. I haven’t seen any trailers for Dallas Buyers Club, so I really had no idea what this movie was even about other than a story about AIDS. The whole plot of the FDA and hospitals making it next to impossible for the people who are slowly dying to get the medical treatment that they want is despicable. Now, some of this movie did take dramatic license, so I’m not sure how biased it was in real life. The story of Woodroof and Rayon is also really great. Woodroof’s character arc through the entirety of the movie is huge and we actually see different points in his life where he takes another step forward towards change. It’s a slow evolution that you see over the period of time that this movie takes. He’s a very well written character.

Even though a character is well written doesn’t necessarily mean that the character is going to be any good, and that’s where Matthew McConaughey comes in. It’s rare to see a career change so drastically in the course of a few years. McConaughey went from films like Sahara and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past to films like Killer JoeMud, and now his best role yet in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey lost a total of 47 pounds for this movie and he handles the change of his character so fluidly and believably. He’s one of the best actors alive right now. Oh yeah… Jared Leto. Wow. I never really had much to say, and only really saw what he was capable of in Requiem for a Dream, but this role is unbelievable. He is unrecognizable as Rayon and you can see the commitment that he put into this character. It’s seriously unreal. Both actors deserve Oscars for their performances. This is going to be an interesting year for the awards.

All in all, Dallas Buyers Club is one of the best movies of the year. McConaughey and Leto show major acting chops here and further establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with. The directing and writing are just fine, but the real interesting scenes go to the actors. Thematically, this is a really heavy movie and may be upsetting to some people, but it is a very worthwhile movie that’s almost medicinal. It’ll help you think about your own life and how you view the lives of other. Now that’s some powerful stuff.