CGB Collaboration Review of Beauty and the Beast (2017) with Monique Ocampo/MsOWrites

Certain as the sun rising in the east, tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme…

This is my review of Beauty and the Beast (2017), guest-starring the one and only Monique Ocampo, also known as MsOWrites!

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Cue the music, Jay!  (Our friend Jay plays the Belle/Little Town theme)

CGB: (Walks out of little cottage) Huh, I didn’t know I lived in a cottage.  (Shrugs, smiles at quaint little cottage) I’m not complainin’.  Oohh, there’s tulips on the side of the cottage!  Well, anyway….(Begins singing) Little film, it’s a brand new remake.  All-star cast and some brand new songs.  Little film, starring Emma Watson.  Everybody says…

Critic 1: IT SUCKS!

Critic 2: IT SUCKS!

Critic 3: IT SUCKS!

Rad-Trads: IT SUCKS!

All together: IT SUCKS!

CGB: There go the critics with their gripes like always.

MsOWrites: Seems like they’re never satisfied.

Both of Us: Because way back when we were kids, Disney made a princess flick.  And it was one that we both loved.

Nostalgia Critic: Good morning, girls!

MsOWrites: Good morning, NC!

Nostalgia Critic: Where are you off to?

CGB: We’re doing a review.  It’s the remake of the classic Disney movie.

Nostalgia Critic: That’s nice.  But honestly?  It was meh.

CGB: Well, we haven’t even seen it yet.

MsOWrites: We might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Nostalgia Critic: It still sucks, though.

Critics: Look there they go, they’re just so optimistic.   Can’t they see that the original’s the best?

Critic 1: Emma Watson’s auto-tuned.

Critic 2: The supporting cast was underused.

Rad-Trads: And let’s not forget the token gay LeFou!

(MsOWrites and I come out of the theater two hours later)

MsOWrites (crying): Oh, isn’t this amazing?

CGB: Are you crying?  Because so am I!

MsOWrites: I never do…but yeah, I’ll make this exception.  There’s just so much of this film that’s good and true…

CGB: It would certainly please JP2!  Let us do a review, just me and you!

MsOWrites: We could show both the Catholic and secular world why it’s good!

CGB: Let us begin!

 

The Hits
CGB: So how did Hermione Granger do playing everyone’s favorite “most peculiar mademoiselle”?  My answer: Emma Watson is a wonderful Belle!   This Belle is a lovely reinterpretation of the original character, mixing her trademark book-loving nature with an inventor’s vibe.  I really appreciate that Emma Watson’s Belle actually feels different from Paige O’Hara’s Belle from the 1991 classic.  O’Hara’s Belle is dreamy, optimistic and overall innocent.  Watson’s Belle is grounded, pragmatic and even bohemian in more ways than one.   One of my biggest concerns is that Emma Watson would come off as an overconfident-in-her-own-self-actualization character, but luckily there’s a sweetness and humility to this new Belle.  Also Watson’s Belle has more agency in this film than she did in the original; locking herself in the dungeon while pushing her father away, telling the Beast that he has to stand so that she can take back to the castle and so on.   Finally, I’m going to add brownie points for that one scene where she teaches a young girl how to read.  Brilliant!  😀  The Beast’s character is pretty much the same as he was in the original; starts off as mean, coarse and unrefined, but ends up becoming so dear and almost kind.  😉 Here, though, his temper is not as jarring as it was in the original.  The sympathy factor of his character is applied right away so that we, the audience, are easily able to refrain from judgment before we get to know him.  His pain and torment are palpable as his growing feelings for Belle begin to break down the inner walls he has placed around his broken, guarded heart.
Kevin Kline is a wonderful Maurice!  I really appreciate that they dialed down his quirkiness big time and made him into an actual character.  Warm, gentle, thoughtful, I can just see him hoisting little Belle onto his lap and reading to her by the fireplace.
Luke Evans is having the time of his life playing Gaston, and I had a great time watching his Gaston.   The usual arrogance of the original character is still there, but we see his progression towards evil.  Also I do like that he’s not impractically buff like in the cartoon, but that his toxic masculinity is displayed by his ignorance and overcompensation.  Now, given that I’ve brought up Gaston, you’re probably waiting to see LeFou mentioned here.  Before MsOWrites and I get into the whole gay LeFou thing, let me talk about the character LeFou.  He is definitely an improvement from the cartoon character.  His “hero-admiration” toward Gaston explains his loyalty to him and he is actually the smarter of the duo.  In a way, he serves as a manifestation of Gaston’s effect on people; how he [Gaston] is able to grab and hold the attention of women and men alike, which was always the point of Gaston’s character to begin with.
EVERMORE!  Oh my goodness, what a beautiful song!  It’s like someone took Augustine’s Confessions, some passages from the Book of Psalms and a hint of the Song of Solomon, then threw them into a blender and then–somehow–they just mixed into the most melodic purée.  Also the song really sums up a wonderful theme in this film: That people come into our lives who touch our hearts so much that when they leave us, just their presence will remain in our memory forever.  They illustrate this when Maurice is singing about Belle’s mother, but the theme comes full circle with Evermore.

MsOWrites: First of all, the opening scenes were stunning in their visuals.  We actually get to see the prince and the residents in the castle and watch the Enchantress cast her spell.  As much as we all love the stained glass narration from the original, the prince’s character arc is to learn what true beauty is, which is kind of the whole point of the entire story in the first place.
The scene with Pere Robert wasn’t as elaborate as the bookshop scene in the original, but there’s a good explanation.  It wouldn’t make sense for there to be a bookstore in a town that doesn’t have that many people who can or even want to read.  However Pere Robert is a priest with a personal library.   He doesn’t have as many books, but he generously loans the books he does have to Belle.
I appreciate the nuances that have been added to the story.  For one, when Belle asks Monsieur Jean if he has lost something again, he responds, “I believe I have.  Problem is I can’t remember what!”  This is actually a small hint at [BIT OF A SPOILER, though it’s told to us in the opening prologue] the “forget-the-freaking-huge-castle-just-down-the-road” enchantment that the Enchantress placed on the entire town.   Yeah, her spell not only turned the now-adult Prince into a hideous CGI goat-man, but also did what the neuralyzer from Men in Black does to people.   It does feel like a convenient cop-out, but it works within the context of the story.
In defense of the songs, I thought these new versions of songs we all know sounded just fine.  They had a more Broadway stage vibe to them, which makes sense given that this is an event musical film.  The auto-tuning is necessary for the actors who are not professional singers and the background music of the songs are faithful to the original music.

The Misses
MsOWrites: So about that magic book thing…yeah, it kind of creates a plot hole.  If it can just transport the Beast anywhere he wants, then why wasn’t he using it all the time prior to Belle’s arrival?  Also, why didn’t Belle use it to get back to the village and return to her father?  The book is used once and then we never see it again.  What?

CGB: Remember how filled with wonder Belle was when she sang about the beauty of books to those sheep?
What?  You don’t sing to sheep?  I do it all the time!  Alas, that’s not the point.  The point is that Hermione–er, I mean–Emma Watson could’ve sung that part about, “oh, isn’t this amazing?  It’s my favorite because…here’s where she meets Prince Charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him till Chapter 3” with a little more enthusiasm.
Speaking of which, Obi-Wan Kenobi (from the Star Wars prequels) plays Lumiere, but there is a bit of a catch: Ewan McGregor himself has stated that he has never seen the original film.  GASP!  Anyway, once I learned that, his performance in this film kind of made more sense.  I’ve seen this movie twice and I didn’t really care for this Lumiere during either time I saw it.  In fact, I think because there was so much focus on getting Belle, the Beast and Gaston right, the supporting cast feels less colorful.

An Unexpected Theological Truth
Both of Us: We consider ourselves students of Mother Teresa.  Throughout her ministry to the poor in Calcutta, she deemed every person she helped as, “Jesus in His most distressing disguise.”  That credo is on display in this film and in the original, as well.  We are going to focus on this film for the sake of argument.  While the Beast most certainly doesn’t act Christ-like in the beginning, Belle does when she chooses to bring him back to the castle after he rescues her from the wolves.  As their relationship develops, he begins displaying Christ-like characteristics such as mercy, understanding and kinship.  One of the many, many beautiful realities of Jesus is that when we follow Him, He brings out the best in us even during difficult times.  With this in mind we see how once she begins ministering to him, Belle becomes the best version of herself and the same happens to the Beast in return.  There is a saying that difficult people show their need for love in unlovable ways and the Beast is a manifestation of that adage.
We challenge you to think of the “Beast” in your life and ask yourself if he/she is in need of mercy and forgiveness.  Sometimes Christ comes to us in the form of an unpleasant person who we can either wash our hands off and avoid at all cost, or show them compassion and forgive their faults just as Belle does with the Beast.

The Elephants in the Room
#1. This film has a gay agenda!
MsOWrites: Let’s address the biggest elephant in the room first. There was a lot of hype and backlash about a “gay scene” in this movie involving the character of LeFou. While it’s true that LeFou is shown to have feelings for Gaston, the actual gay scene is just two seconds long.
Neither of us are promoting gay marriage.  However, we do agree with the idea of representation. We need to acknowledge that there are people out there who are attracted to the same sex and treat them as people instead of a stereotype.  This advocating of representation also applies to those who identify as asexual as well.  (I’m looking at you, Riverdale!)
Trust me when I say that Disney isn’t the only name in “children’s programming” to include a gay character.

CGB: So I already talked about this on both the blog FB page, but I’ll just rehash some of my thoughts here.
The original film makes it very clear that Lefou, as well as every woman and man in the entire village, is hopelessly enamored with Gaston. In addition, Gaston presents himself (quite loudly and boldly) to be THE ideal man, THE symbol of masculine perfection. Lefou, being Gaston’s right-hand man, would most likely be the one who gets the most sucked in to the–I guess we can call it–the cult of Gaston.  It’s not just LeFou, it’s him and all of the village who are swept up in it, which explains why everyone immediately goes along with Gaston’s “let’s-kill-the-Beast” tirade with no questions asked.
Also, let’s look at Lefou himself. What does he personally gain from being around Gaston all the time? They’re not brothers or related in any fashion, and there’s no indication that Lefou owes him money or anything; in retrospect, Lefou has no real reason to associate himself with Gaston at all. One could make the argument that there is a social benefit to being around Gaston, but Lefou is never established to be a self-serving character who is trying to get ahead in society by being around the “right people,” so that wouldn’t hold up.
Simply having a character who happens to be gay in a film is not in and of itself promoting same-sex marriage.  How it is presented is what matters.  LeFou never actively hits on Gaston and there’s no gay wedding at the end.  There will be those who say, “You give [gay people] an inch and they’ll take a mile!”  However, that inch has to make sense.
You can be a faithful Catholic who staunchly defends the sanctity of marriage and acknowledge that there are LGBT people who are created in His likeness and image.  In fact, that’s basically what we’re supposed to be doing.  We are supposed to bring all people, gay or straight, to the Gospel, not chase them away from it by foaming at the mouth over a fictitious character who happens to be gay.  As Christians, we are called to rise above our outrage culture and be a people of the better way.  Love without truth is permissiveness and truth without love is brutality.  Only the truth spoken with love brings hope and enlightenment. 

#2. This film is uber-feminist!

CGB: I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear by now that I identify as a pro-life feminist (I would emphasize, but the label itself is pretty self-explanatory).  With this lens, I observed that the feminist undertones of this film were centered around the theme of the anti-intellectual village.  For one, notice how only the boys go to school and the girls are the ones learning to keep house.  This establishes how Belle is the outsider woman who chooses the solace of books over the conventions of the little town.  It is not wrong to use film to point to the very bleak reality that there are still countries in our world where girls are not allowed to read or even go to school.  I would argue that it would probably behoove Western feminists to focus less on promoting abortion and more on calling attention to the injustice of depriving girls an education.

MsOWrites: The main issue that Belle has with the villagers is that they choose to stay in their simple, provincial ways. Belle is shown doing laundry by having a horse pull a barrel full of soap and clothes. When I heard about Belle being an inventor who created a washing machine, I actually expected some kind of steampunk contraption. The invention that Belle created was actually something all the villagers could use. But instead of being open-minded about a better way to do their laundry, they destroy her invention. They also berate her about teaching a young girl to read.
There’s a similar argument going around that Belle, her father, and even the local priest are members of a “literate caste.” Keep in mind that Belle and her father fled Paris in the midst of the plague and that priests are more often than not assigned to minister to small towns. And at the time, priests were well-educated. It’s not that these three deliberately kept their books away from everyone else. They have a school for young boys, but LeFou admits to being illiterate and they would rather side with the amoral war hero (Gaston) over the kind music box maker (Maurice). The townspeople chose to be ignorant throughout the film.

CGB Review of The Danish Girl (2015)

It’s official: Eddie Redmayne was put on this earth to get people who don’t normally cry during movies to cry.
Excuse me, I’ve got something in my eye…

This is my review of The Danish Girl!

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The Danish Girl tells the true story of Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery.  Lili was born as painter Einar Wegener who confronts repressed feelings and seeks to become a woman.  Along for the tumultuous journey is Gerda Wegener, the progressive, strong-willed wife who must come to terms with her spouse’s transition from male to female.
Guys and gals, this review was a labor of love.  Transgenderism is a sensitive topic that strikes a nerve in people.  I knew that in writing this review, I had to be charitable to LGBT people while remaining loyal to the Church’s stance on sexuality.
For the record, I will never go against the Church’s teaching that God creates us as male and female; Genesis 1:27 states, “God created man in His image; in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them.”
I will also never cast aside the human dignity of our transgender brothers and sisters. Whether they be gay or straight, every single person is a child of God.
With all that said, let’s take a look at The Danish Girl!

The Hits
Eddie Redmayne broke my heart in The Theory of Everything and in this movie, his performance had me crying like a baby once again.  Empathetic, vulnerable and even childlike at times, Redmayne brilliantly captures the torment of having to wrestle with gender identity.  Any time he has to look at his body in the mirror and mentally envision Lili, his conflict and inner pain are well conveyed.  There is a scene where Lili is beaten up by two homophobic men and, as gut-wrenching as it is, I admire how this one scene unflinchingly depicts the grim reality of anti-gay prejudice.  Like Alan Turing in Imitation Game, Lili is a fleshed-out character, never treated as an agenda pawn.  Much care was taken to be compassionate to Lili’s plight.
Alicia Vikander’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar win was well deserved.  Through her portrayal, we come to know Gerda Wegener as Lili’s advocate, guardian angel and kindred spirit.  Her heartbreaking evolution from playing along with her spouse’s “game” to fully realizing that the person she married is becoming someone else is sold by Vikander’s grounded and spirited performance.
Similarly to The Theory of Everything, the Wegeners’ marriage is engaging to watch. I like how before becoming Lili, Einar starts out as timid and reserved, while Gerda is the adventurous free spirit.  Redmayne and Vikander have a natural chemistry and the love between their characters is convincing.
The set design and the costumes are immaculate.  The color palate resembles that of a painting, which wonderfully reflects the main characters’ shared passion for art.  The film successfully captures the look and feel of 1920’s Denmark.
Where this movie really shines is helping us understand the depth of Lili’s suffering and desire to be a woman while at the same time being considerate of Gerda’s own turmoil with losing her husband.  Neither character is vilified and both have moments of selfishness, hence treating the complexity of the subject matter with tact.

The Misses
Focus is a major issue in this movie.  The film attempts to make both Lili and Gerda the main characters, but more attention is given to Gerda than to Lili.  By the second act of the film, Lili feels like a glorified supporting character.  The movie has a generally steady pace up until the third act, where it starts to meander and toy around with filler and the ending feels a tad rushed.
The musical score is composed by Alexandre Desplat, the same man behind the remarkable Imitation Game soundtrack.  Unfortunately the musical score here is not as inspired.  It sounds nice and it is as smooth as a brush on a canvas, but it pales in comparison to the Imitation Game music.  Sorry, Mr. Desplat, but it looks like you can’t always catch lighting in a bottle twice.
So before the gender reassignment surgery, the movie treats Lili as an apparition, as a separate character whom Einar seeks to become.  I am sad to say that this strategy backfires.  Lines of dialogue such as, “I think Lili’s thoughts.  I dream her dreams,” and “There was a moment where I wasn’t me.  There was a moment that I was just Lili…” made me cringe.  Because Lili and Einar are handled as two characters embodied by one person, there are quite a few times where the movie comes dangerously close to confusing transgenderism with split personality disorder.
It is clear that director Tom Hooper could have used the help of a transgender specialist.  Throughout the film, it appears that Mr. Hooper realized how complicated transgenderism is and became intimidated by his own project.  As a result, the focus on Gerda feels like a security blanket to cover up the film’s inability to delve into the psychology of Lili and it keeps the film from being the character study it could have been.

I have come to the conclusion that The Danish Girl is an admirable misfire.  On one hand, the hearts of everyone involved are in the right place, the technical work is praiseworthy and the committed performances of both Redmayne and Vikander express the triumph and tragedy of their love story.  On the other hand, the restraint and timidity of the filmmakers hold back the story from being able to get inside Lili Elbe’s head, leaving more to be desired.  It is certainly not a bad film, but rather a misstep with good intentions.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Is Kim Davis A Martyr? (Originally Published at The Catholic Response)– http://www.thecatholicresponse.us/is-kim-davis-a-martyr/

http://www.thecatholicresponse.us/is-kim-davis-a-martyr/

If you are like me and happen to have both liberal and conservative friends, you have heard heated—well, let’s call them— “discussions” about a woman in Kentucky named Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to both gay and straight couples after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Some call her a martyr. Others call her a fool.

I would like to argue that she is neither a martyr nor a fool.
She is simply wrong.

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It all began on June 29th, 2015, just three days after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states. Kim Davis, the Clerk of Rowan County, denied David Moore and David Ermold, a same-sex couple, a marriage license. She also withheld licenses from three heterosexual couples. In August federal district Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue licenses to all who applied, whether they be gay or straight. However, Davis’ defiance continued as she repeatedly turned away marriage license applicants regardless of sexual orientation. As a result, she was found in contempt and was taken into custody.

Some would question why an elected official would defy the law.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. – Kim Davis

Not A Martyr

I happen to be an English major, which means I have a responsibility to be accurate in my use of various words. In politics, it is not uncommon for loaded words to be tossed around by both sides with reckless abandon. In Kim Davis’ case, some well-meaning conservative people have proposed the idea that she is a martyr for the cause of religious liberty. This makes me cringe because “martyr” is not a term that should be used lightly.
How does the Catechism of the Catholic Church define martyrdom?

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. ‘Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.’ (2473)

Just for the sake of emphasis, I will place a secular definition, as provided by Random House Dictionary, “A person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce his or her religion.”

Based on these two definitions, I can say with certainty that Kim Davis does not qualify as a martyr. While going to jail was undoubtedly an unpleasant experience, she was not incarcerated for being a Christian. No one in a position of authority has threatened her life. She has not been coerced to renounce her religion. As an individual citizen, she has a right to disagree with the law. As an elected official, she does not have the right to go against it.

Let’s take another look at her quote, “It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience.” Her issue is that by affixing her name to these certificates, she is condoning what clearly goes against Scripture. However, she was not only denying licenses to homosexual couples, but to heterosexual couples, as well, in defiance of the law.

In Matthew 22, Jesus warned against anarchy by urging the Pharisees, “Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” We, as private citizens, can and should hold true to our beliefs and stand firmly upon Christian doctrine. However, as citizens of this great country, we all must follow the law of the land.

Not A Fool, Just Wrong

Going back to definitions, Random House defines a fool as, “A silly or stupid person.” Ms. Davis is neither silly nor stupid. Her statement above is articulate and purposeful. She seems to be fully aware of the consequences of her actions, and has the resolve to see it through to the end. One might argue that she has become a puppet whose strings are being pulled by those who seek to benefit from her conservative stance, but it is clear that she is a true believer.

All that being said, she is simply wrong.

When she became the County Clerk, an elected position, this is what she signed up for. Her duty is to serve whoever walks through her doors, regardless of her personal convictions. When confronted with what she believed was a moral dilemma, she had a choice. That choice was not to deny what has been legally afforded to same sex couples of her county by the Supreme Court and thereby break the law. That choice was to step down from her position.

As a Catholic, I hold firm to what both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition say about the sanctity of marriage, a sacramental bond, instituted by God. As an American citizen, I believe that no one is above the law, whether we agree with it or not. After all, Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar,” or in our case, the Supreme Court. And at the end of all this, I’m not sure if we can say who ‘won’ and who ‘lost’. In the realm of public policy, there will be many casualties and Mrs. Davis might have been one of them; but we ought not consider her a martyr for her faith. When an age of martyrdom becomes a reality for America’s Christians… you’ll know.

CGB Review of The Imitation Game

Within minutes after I pressed play on the DVD menu, the film opens with an assertive narration from Alan Turing:
“Are you paying attention?  Good.  If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things.  I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me.  You think that because you’re sitting where you are, and I am sitting where I am, that you are in control of what is about to happen.  You’re mistaken.  I am in control, because I know things that you do not know.”
Mr. Turing, I’m all ears.

This is my review of The Imitation Game!

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The Imitation Game is the true story of Alan Turing, a mathematician, cryptanalyst and eventual war hero who broke the unbreakable war codes of Nazi Germany’s Enigma machine.
So this was the highest grossing independent film of 2014 and frankly, all of that money is well deserved because this is an excellent film.  I have nothing bad to say about this movie, so here is everything right with the Imitation Game!

I want that soundtrack!  The musical score is haunting and hypnotic.  Heck, I can still hear it in my head hours after the credits roll.  In fact, I’m listening to it on YouTube as I write out this review (it’s playing on my tablet).  It’s the kind of music that I would want to listen to while walking at the park or jogging around my neighborhood.
Like Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerizing as Alan Turing.  This is a man who is lost in his own head, expressing himself through codes and calculations.  An antisocial and off-putting man who is never intentionally hurtful, machines and mathematics are his true love, making more sense to him than the emotional responses of others.  His ideas are so complex that not even people who are as smart as him have any clue as to what he’s talking about.  This prevents the clichéd “he’s a misunderstood dreamer and everyone else is a jerk who doesn’t get him” trope.  Benedict Cumberbatch’s thoughtful performance portrays Alan Turing as someone I would want as a teacher or a mentor.
Keira Knightly is wonderful as Joan Clarke, who shares a chaste, emotional connection with him.   Alan and Joan never touch in a sexual way, yet their souls speak to each other through their intellect.  Their last scene together is heartbreaking as we see these two bright people allow themselves to be vulnerable and emotionally-naked with each other.
Ever since I reviewed Right to Believe, I always pay close attention to the portrayal of a homosexual character; is it sensationalized or handled with tact and grace?  Does it define the character or is it only an aspect of a three-dimensional protagonist?  Is the LGBT character written as a human being or an agenda pawn?  By this litmus test, the Imitation Game passes the class with flying colors.  His homosexuality is a subplot and never consumes the story.  In fact, for a while, I thought Alan Turing was asexual (someone who does not experience sexual attraction; different from celibacy.  http://www.asexuality.org/home/?q=overview.html )  I like how the subject of homosexual men marrying women is treated as the complex matter that it is; neither Alan nor his fiancée Joan is vilified.  He deeply cares for her, but feels conflicted; she genuinely loves him as her closest friend, but societal norms mandate her to be married.
Overall the film gives us a sense of what it’s like to be Alan Turing; the script is so intimate with the main character that it’s like the director and/or screenwriter personally knew Turing.  Like Amelie and American Sniper, the Imitation Game knows its protagonist and wants you to know him, as well.  This is a humanistic film that tells the story of a brilliant man who was forced to hide his sexuality from the very world he was trying to save.

SPOILER CORNER!!!!  IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE IMITATION GAME YET, SKIP THIS SEGMENT!!!
The ending got to me.  I was disgusted at the way the British government treated him after he was arrested for gross indecency, for just being a homosexual.  He was given two options: Two years in prison or chemical castration.  He chose castration so that he could continue working.
I mentioned Alan and Joan’s last scene together, which comes at the end before the text comes on-screen revealing Alan’s suicide.  I bring it up because this is the scene that moved me the most.  Alan tells Joan that he continues the government’s hormonal treatment so that he can keep Christopher, the machine that broke Nazi Germany’s Enigma.  “If I don’t continue, they’ll take Christopher away from me and I’ll be alone,” he bursts into tears, “…and I don’t want to be alone.”  Joan comforts him and suggests he do a crossword puzzle, his favorite hobby.  When he struggles to lift the pencil and says, “I’ll do it later,” that’s when I knew it was over for him.
Once the end text reveals that he killed himself at the age of 41, I started crying.  To be driven to such despair is always a tragedy, but to do the courageous act of defeating Nazi Germany’s war machine and then be repaid with cruelty is equally tragic.

Saint Edith Stein/Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us.