Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

The Imitation Game

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Strong performances buoy teen-friendly historical drama.

Movie PG-13 2014 114 minutes
The Imitation Game Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 24 parent reviews

age 14+

(SPOILER) Great movie for bright kids -- but with a big note of caution

We saw this movie without our kids, loved it, and would like to be able to share it with them...but at ages 8 and 11 we're not sure they can handle it. The pros: Turing is a great inspiration for bright, quirky kids (particularly any kids on the spectrum -- some people believe he had Asperger's), and the movie's very explicit (but not heavy-handed) message is that people who don't quite fit in often turn out to have the biggest impact. Keira Knightley's character is a great example for girls, particularly any who are trying to navigate the line between academic achievement and social acceptance. The caveat (and spoiler, if you don't know the details of Turing's life): at the very end of the movie, after Turing is outed as gay, he is chemically castrated and then (though this is mentioned only in a text note on screen at the end) commits suicide. While it was very clear to us as adults that his sad fate had everything to do with the homophobia of that time, and almost nothing to do with his personality or brilliance (I say "almost nothing" because I don't know whether and how his social skills played into his outing/sentencing) I'm not so sure that would be clear to our kids. I'm worried they might think this shows how dangerous it is to be different, and also, that it might glamorize suicide (the movie certainly doesn't, but it's something to be aware of). If you were watching at home you could avoid those last bits simply by turning off the movie once Turing finishes telling his story to the detective -- basically, skip the last 10 minutes. But I'd be concerned that the kids would still follow up via Google, and I think it's Turing's ultimate fate that makes this movie's themes pretty tough for kids. The movie itself is fabulous. And in my view, no issue at all in terms of sexual content. The only thing I'd skip for our kids, other than the last 10 minutes, is the scene where Turing gets bullied, and a scene where Turing and Joan Clark are meeting with their MI-6 handler, and she looks out a cafe window and sees war casualties. Hope this is helpful!
age 14+

WWII-era movie focuses less on the war, more on sexual identity

This movie centers on how the British were able to crack an infamous code machine used by the Germans--Enigma--during World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch is a fantastic actor in this movie, and the supporting cast is also terrific. One thing that was personally displeasing was the sexual innuendos throughout the movie. Nothing mentioned was 100% explicit and no visuals are provided, but it has several hints at sex, both M and F as well as M and M (the main character, as we find out, is homosexual). Definitely for older children, but bearable if kids don't know all that much. It's a fine movie, but the marketing team decided to focus more on the war part of the movie, when in reality, much of the movie was about Cumberbatch's character navigating through homosexuality. I expected a movie about the Brits cracking Enigma, not about a person's personal journey to discover his sexual identity. A few instances of swearing, mostly just British swear words if you get my meaning.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (24 ):
Kids say (48 ):

Without question, Cumberbatch is up to the task of bringing to life a complicated, brilliant man. Turing is multi-dimensional, his emotional depths layered. He is, by far, the best part of this enjoyable, if flawed, film. As entertainment, The Imitation Game has loads to recommend it: It's paced well, features strong performances from the ensemble, and does a fine enough job of explaining the ideas behind cryptology. But history buffs will know that it's a condensation and that the filmmakers have been liberal with their shortcuts. Bletchley Park, where the Enigma code was broken, had dozens of code-breakers toiling on the project, not the handful shown here. (They're framed and shot like a gang of superheroes before the climax of a big face-off -- a simplistic take on greatness.)

Turing's achievements can't be boiled down to one cinematic moment, as they are here. It would have been better if the movie had attempted to show the project's elaborateness, rather than simplifying it for the screen. And his hidden homosexuality is given a rather superficial study, its impact on his life hurried in the final act. Still, Cumberbatch deserves all the praise that he'll no doubt reap. He's fantastic.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate