TIME movies

The True Story of The Imitation Game

(L-R) Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Allen Leech star in The Imitation Game. Jack English—© 2014 The Weinstein Company. All Rights Reserved.

What's fact and what's fiction in the Benedict Cumberbatch film about the man who cracked the Nazi's code

Though The Imitation Game was largely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, much of Alan Turing’s life is shrouded in mystery. Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film, is credited as the father of computer science. He cracked codes produced by the German military’s seemingly unbreakable Enigma machine during World War II using math, engineering and still-to-be-invented computer science. But most of the documents tracing his work for the British government have been destroyed and little is known about Turing’s personal life.

Here’s what is likely truth and what is embellishment in The Imitation Game based on Alan Turing: The Enigma and the Turing Exhibition at London’s Science Museum.

Alan Turing’s first love, Christopher, died at a young age

Ruling: Fact

Christopher, an older student at Sherborne School in Dorset, was also interested in math. Turing harbored feelings toward Christopher, though Turing believed his love was not reciprocated. In the movie, Turing learns of Christopher’s death after-the-fact from his headmaster. In reality, Turing had been told his friend was sick and to prepare for the worst before Christopher passed.

Christopher’s death did spur Turing to pursue mathematics in the hope that he could understand whether part of Christopher could somehow live on without his body. In the year after his death, Turing wrote an essay in which he discussed how the soul might survive after death with a nod to the new field of quantum mechanics.

Alan Turing was a closeted gay man

Ruling: Fact

Alan Turing was gay at a time when homesexual activity was outlawed in England. In 1952, he was convicted of “gross indecency.” (He admitted to being gay but pled not guilty because he thought the law was unjust.) He was sentenced to probation that involved chemical castration (see more below) and committed suicide within two years with cyanide.

The filmmakers decided not to include the suicide in the movie even though they filmed the scene. Benedict Cumberbatch explained to the press at New York City’s 92Y that in the film’s last scene, “Someone [is] telling [Turing] something he never had told to him in his life: That he did matter — the fact that he was regarded as different and not normal was hugely important to the world and to everybody around him. No one had told him that in his life. So to end it on that note, with someone explaining, was our way of thanking him in the structure of the film, our eulogy to him.”

Joan Clarke is invited to Bletchley Park, the home of the government’s code breaking operation, after completing a crossword puzzle

Ruling: Fiction

Clarke’s professor at Oxford helped her get into the program (which was dominated by men). The crossword puzzle test scene is fictionalized, though that was a method the government did use to recruit code-crackers at the time.

Joan’s parents didn’t want her at Bletchley

Ruling: Fiction

In the movie, the Clarkes do not want their daughter to crack codes for the government because she is a woman, but that aspect of the film was added for dramatic tension.

Turing named the code breaking machine “Christopher”

Ruling: Fiction

In the film, Turing tells Clarke that he named the machine “Christopher.” (The audience knows it’s named after Turing’s first love, though Clarke doesn’t know that part.) Turing is obsessed with the idea of using a computer to engineer a human brain or even a soul, and dubbing the computer “Christopher” makes it seem as if Turing may be trying to find a way to resurrect his old love. In reality, the machine was called the Bombe and nicknamed “Victory.”

John Cairncross threatens to expose Turing’s sexuality if Turing reveals he’s a spy

Ruling: Fiction

In the film, Cairncross says he will tell the government Turing’s secret sexuality if Turing reveals that Caincross is a spy. The blackmail works for a while and Turing covers up for Cairnscross. In fact, the two never met. Though Cairncross was at Bletchley Park, he did not work with Turing. There were strict separations between the units. As far as historians can tell, Turing never hid spies from the government.

Turing asked Clarke to marry him

Ruling: Fact

Turing and Clarke were indeed engaged for a time. And, like in the movie, they never went through with the marriage. Turing revealed his true sexuality to his fiancée and, according to Turing, Clarke was “unfazed” by the revelation.

Some critics have said the friendship and pseudo-romance between Turing and Clarke is overblown in the film. Keira Knightley, who plays Clarke, told the Huffington Post, “I think what we’re trying to get to is the essence of what it was. And at that time with Alan, to my knowledge, he didn’t have another affair, or an affair actually, with a man. His big friendship was with a woman and he did ask her to marry him.”

MORE: The History Behind Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game

The government thought Turing might be a Soviet spy

Ruling: Fiction

In the film, an officer interrogates Turing thinking he’s a spy and accidentally uncovers Turing’s sexuality. In reality, Turing was investigated for “gross indecency” after he reported a petty theft to the police. In his report, he concealed the fact that he was in a relationship with the possible thief. After the police pursued the charge, Turing finally submitted a five-page report admitting to his affair with a man.

Turing underwent chemical castration after his conviction

Ruling: Fact

Consensual sex between two men remained illegal until 1967 in England. To avoid prison, Turing accepted treatment with estrogen, chemical castration meant to neutralize his libido. Gay men were considered a security risk to the government because they were open to blackmail, so Turing lost his security clearance. Turing died on June 7, 1954. He was found with a partly-eaten apple, and many biographers have posited it was laced with cyanide. But the autopsy found four ounces of cyanide in Turing’s stomach, suggesting he drank the poison and ate the apple to make the experience more palatable.

Some have suggested Apple’s symbol, the apple, is a tribute to Turing, though Steve Jobs denied this connection on multiple occasions.

MORE: Review: The Imitation Game: Dancing With Dr. Strange

TIME weather

Holiday Snow Wreaks Havoc on Thanksgiving Travel Plans

Delays on the road and in the air all along the east coast

On the eve of one of the biggest travel holidays in the year, a storm is threatening the travel plans of 20 million people in the Northeast, according to a warning issued by the National Weather Service.

Wednesday’s expected Nor’easter will bring rain and snow to the north and the west of the I-95 corridor. Rain began to fall in the morning hours in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and quickly began to turn into snow, causing delays on I-95. Areas in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey could expect three-to-six inches of snow by the end of the day. Some New England states will see up to half a foot of snow.

For those flying out of the east coast, over 200 flights were canceled by noon Wednesday.

The snow should abate all along the east coast by Thanksgiving Day, with temperatures climbing far enough above freezing to improve road conditions.

But it could always be worse: In Siberia, it was so cold that a plane got stuck to the frozen ground. After spending 24 hours on the tarmac, passengers finally got out of the aircraft and pushed it themselves on Wednesday, captured in this astounding video reported by Tass.ru.

TIME Crime

Michael Brown’s Mother Calls Darren Wilson’s Comments ‘Disrespectful’

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown talks to a crowd of protesters in advance of the Grand Jury verdict on police officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 22, 2014.
Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown talks to a crowd of protesters in advance of the grand-jury verdict on police officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 22, 2014 Sebastiano Tomada—Getty Images

The mother of the slain Ferguson teenager responds to the first public comments of the man that killed her son

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of gunned-down teenager Michael Brown called policeman Darren Wilson’s comments following a grand-jury decision not to indict him “disrespectful,” in a Wednesday interview with the Today Show.

Wilson told George Stephanopoulos Tuesday that he has a “clean conscience” over the August incident. In his grand-jury testimony, Wilson claimed that Brown rushed at him and looked like a “demon” during the confrontation.

Michael Brown Sr. said on the Today Show that Wilson’s account of the encounter that resulted in the death of his son “sounds crazy.” The father said his son respected law enforcement. “And who in their right mind would charge a police officer that has his gun out?”

McSpadden added, “It’s like insult after injury.”

Watch the full interview on Today Show.

Should the Ferguson Protestors Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY

TIME celebrities

Bette Midler (Kind of) Apologizes for Calling Ariana Grande a ‘Whore’

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
From Left: Bette Midler and Ariana Grande Getty Images (2)

Midler calls herself a 'reformed whore'

Bette Midler and Ariana Grande seem to have settled their puzzling feud via Twitter. The squabble began Monday when Midler, 68, complained in an interview with the Telegraph about today’s young female talent depending too much on their sex appeal. Since complaining about 22-year-old Miley Cyrus’ twerking is apparently so last year, Midler pointed instead to 21-year-old Ariana Grande:

It’s terrible! It’s always surprising to see someone like Ariana Grande with that silly high voice, a very wholesome voice, slithering around on a couch looking so ridiculous. I mean, it’s silly beyond belief, and I don’t know who’s telling her to do it. I wish they’d stop. But it’s not my business, I’m not her mother. Or her manager. Maybe they tell them that’s what you’ve got to do. Sex sells. Sex has always sold.

Her advice to stars like Grande? “Trust your talent. You don’t have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead. You really don’t.”

Grande took a break from promoting her new Christmas song “Santa Tell Me” to respond. In a tweet, she questioned Midler’s feminism:

“Bette was always a feminist who stood for women being able to do whatever the F they wanted without judgement! not sure where that Bette went but i want that sexy mermaid back!!! always a fan no matter what my love,” she tweeted. Perhaps in the spirit of the holiday, Grande tweeted later that she harbors no ill will towards Midler:

Midler tweeted back a pseudo-apology:

Now everyone can enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey in peace.

MORE: Listen to Ariana Grande’s New Christmas Single, “Santa Tell Me”

TIME Innovation

Top 10 Toys of 2014

From 'Breaking Bad' action figures to Frozen Snow Glow Elsa, these are the best toys of 2014.

  • 10. Frozen Snow Glow Elsa

    Frozen Snow Glow Elsa
    Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Disney

    $34.99 for 3+

    The toy bound to sell out fastest this holiday season is Frozen Snow Glow Elsa. It’s everything a Frozen fan could dream of: She’ll light up, recite lines from the film and—perhaps to the chagrin of parents who’ve heard the song on repeat for the last year—sing “Let It Go.” The Frozen mania will truly never end.

  • 9. LEGO Movie LEGOs

    The LEGO Movie: Ice Cream Machine
    The LEGO Movie: Ice Cream Machine LEGO

    $12.99 – $249.99 for ages 7-14

    This is meta: Some of the most in-demand toys since The LEGO Movie’s release in February have been LEGOs from that very movie. Characters from the movie like Emmet and Unikitty, along with their toys and vehicles, are all now available from LEGO. The movie revitalized the biggest toy maker in the world, making hands-on play cool again in the era of the iPad.

  • 8. Nerf Rebelle

    Nerf Rebelle Rapid Red Blaster
    Nerf Rebelle Rapid Red Blaster Hasbro

    $4.99 – $29.99 for ages 6+

    Last year, Nerf decided to even the battlefield and create a new line of guns, arrows and crossbows specifically for girls. The resulting Nerf Rebelle line takes a cue from the success of The Hunger Games: The box is covered with tweens styled like that series’ hero, Katniss Everdeen.

  • 7. Breaking Bad Action Figures

    Breaking Bad Heisenberg Action Figure
    Breaking Bad Heisenberg Action Figure Mezco Toyz

    $30.00-$40.00 for adults

    The most talked-about toys of the year weren’t even designed for kids. Action figures of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman from the Emmy-winning AMC series Breaking Bad stirred up controversy this year when a Florida mother started a petition to get the toys removed from Toys’R’Us, claiming the action figures that came with detachable bags of money and meth migrated from the adults-only aisle to the kids’ aisle. Toys’R’Us eventually did pull the toys, to the dismay of the show’s stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul who both tweeted their disapproval. Luckily, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and several other retailers still carry the meth-dealing dolls.

  • 6. IAmElemental Action Figures

    I Am Elemental action figures I Am Elemental

    $65.00 for ages 4+

    After realizing that almost all the female action figures on the market were designed for adult male collectors—with hyper-sexual curves and legs that splay out—two mothers decided to create action figures for girls that were both functional and encouraged girls to think of themselves as heroes. The Kickstarter campaign for the IAmElemental action figures reached its $35,000 goal in the first 48 hours. The first set of figures, which each personify values like “persistence,” will be available ahead of this holiday shopping season.

  • 5. Osmo

    justin fantl

    $79.99 for ages 6+

    Tired of seeing your kids staring at screens like zombies? This iPad game brings virtual play to life. A reflector equipped with artificial intelligence snaps over your iPad’s camera and can sense when objects are moving (or being drawn) on a pad in front of it. Osmo comes with three games, all of which promote creativity and—because it’s best played in groups—social intelligence. The best way to understand how Osmo works is by watching the video of kids who have never played with the device before testing it out for the first time.

  • 4. Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart

    Doc McStuffins

    $44.99 for ages 3-6

    Doc McStuffins, the main character on her eponymous Disney show that ranks No. 1 among kids aged two to five, has become one of the most-wanted dolls in toy stores. She sold $500 million worth of merchandise sales last year, and her new Get Better Talking Mobile Cart will only boost those numbers this holiday season. Dottie ‘Doc’ McStuffins is a young, African-American girl who aspires to become a doctor—just like her mom—and treats her stuffed animals with ailments. (She has a stay-at-home dad.) Not only does she inspire girls and boys to science careers, but children of all races also love McStuffins, a rare trait on the toy market.

  • 3. Leap Band

    A general view of atmosphere as Mia Hamm and LeapFrog attempt to become GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record holders in celebration of the launch of the new LeapBand Activity Tracker For Kids at the first-ever Fit Made Fun Day at Santa Monica Pier on Sept. 6, 2014 in Santa Monica, California.
    A general view of atmosphere as Mia Hamm and LeapFrog attempt to become GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record holders in celebration of the launch of the new LeapBand Activity Tracker For Kids at the first-ever Fit Made Fun Day at Santa Monica Pier on Sept. 6, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. Charley Gallay—Getty Images for LeapFrog

    $39.99 for ages 4-7

    Fitness trackers aren’t just for adults anymore, as educational company LeapFrog is breaking into wearable tech. This year, it introduced the LeapBand, a watch that tracks kids’ activity. Like the Tamagotchi of yesteryear, kids can choose a pet on their LeapBand to take care of. But here’s the trick: Kids have to get moving in order to earn “joules” (get it?) to feed and care for their virtual friend. The pet suggests activities and challenges like “pop like popcorn” or “crawl like a crab.” The tracker has been endorsed by soccer legend Mia Hamm and aims to help solve the childhood obesity problem.

  • 2. Anki Drive

    Anki Drive
    Anki's new cars, Corax and Hadion Anki

    $149.99 for children capable of handling an iOS device

    These remote control cars boast artificial intelligence. Created by Carnegie Mellon scientists, the Anki Drive set includes a roll-out race track and the smartest cars you’ve ever seen. The AI-assisted cars can tell when a curve is coming on the track, if there’s a car nearby and how to avoid collisions. The toy plays like a video game: Players can control the car’s movements and even deploy weapons or put up shields using an iPhone or iPad app, competing against AI-controlled cars at three different levels or each other. If they’re feeling lazy, players can also simply watch the cars race on their own.

  • 1. Roominate

    Roominate Chateau

    $19.99 – $49.99 for ages 4-13

    Picking up the mantel from GoldieBlox, this engineering toy hopes to inspire girls to aspire to careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Studies show that girls begin to rule out engineering as a possible career path at as young as eight years old, one reason only 11% of engineers are women. Many researchers think that if there were more STEM toys for girls, they might see engineering or science as a viable career path. Created by two Stanford engineers, Roominate is a playhouse you can design, build and wire. Connect the motor and light circuits, and windmills will spin, lamps will light up and elevators will travel up and down. New Roominate toys for the holidays include a helicopter, a studio and a chateau.

    Read next: Top 10 Gadgets of 2014

TIME movies

Zoolander Is Back, This Time With Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez—AFP/Getty Images

Because she's really, really ridiculously good looking

It’s been 13 years since Ben Stiller last flashed Blue Steel. But a Zoolander sequel directed by and starring Stiller is finally coming.

Although there’s no official word yet as to whether Will Ferrell or Owen Wilson will return for their respective roles as a sinister designer and air-headed supermodel, Stiller will definitely be joined by Penelope Cruz, according to Deadline. Stiller has not revealed what Cruz’s role will be, but we can only assume she is playing a supermodel.

The followup to the comedy has been in the works for years. The script for the sequel was penned by Justin Theroux with input from Stiller, who summed up the premise for Empire in 2011:

It’s ten years later and most of it is set in Europe. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s basically Derek and Hansel ten years later. Though the last movie ended on a happy note, a lot of things have happened in the meantime. Their lives have changed and they’re not really relevant anymore. It’s a new world for them. Will Ferrell is written into the script and he’s expressed interest in doing it. I think Mugatu is an integral part of the Zoolander story, so yes, he features in a big way.

Big changes? Perhaps Derek lost his skills as an ambi-turner.


TIME radio

Family of Adnan Syed Reacts to ‘Serial’ Podcast

"I wake up as soon as they put it on," his brother says

Millions have become obsessed with a 15-year-old murder case thanks to NPR’s “Serial,” a podcast from the team behind “This American Life” that explores a real-life mystery week-by-week. At the center of the case is Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee when he was still in high school, and has been in prison ever since.

Though Adnan plays an important role on the podcast and is interviewed in almost every episode, his family has refrained from publicly commenting on the show, until now. Adnan’s brother, Yusef Syed, spoke to CBS This Morning about Serial for the first time Thursday.

MORE: Serial: Sarah Koening On the Addictive New Podcast fromThis American Life

“I wake up as soon as they put it on,” he said. “Some days I’ll be like, ‘This is a really great episode,’ and some days I’ll feel down and depressed.” Yusef Syed, who with the help of a lawyer friend, originally reached out to “This American Life” journalist and “Serial” host Sarah Koening about his brother’s story, said he’s glad that the show has brought new attention to his brother’s conviction. The Innocence Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people, has since taken on Adnan’s case.

But Yusef also was careful to remind rabid fans of the show who are sharing theories on Reddit and attempting to solve the mystery themselves that “there’s a real girl who died.”

Hae Min Lee’s family has not responded to Koenig’s request for interviews on the show and has yet to comment on the podcast publicly. One man on Reddit, claiming to be Lee’s brother, said that he has not told his parents about the podcast.


TIME justice

Michael Brown Sr. Appeals for Calm Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

"I do not want my son's death to be in vain"

The father of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. this summer, released a video Thursday asking people not to “hurt others” or “destroy property” ahead of a grand jury decision into whether the officer will be indicted in the killing.

“No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain,” Michael Brown, Sr. said in the video. “I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region for everyone…Let’s work together to create change for all people regardless of race.”

The shooting of Brown by Officer Darren Wilson sparked sometimes violent protests in Ferguson this August, exposing simmering racial tensions in the St. Louis suburb.

Protestors gathered again in below freezing temperatures outside the courthouse to await the grand jury’s return on the case in the past week. They have been met by officers in riot gear. Police have already arrested five people and are bracing for the verdict.

TIME Television

Better Call Saul Has a Premiere Date

The Breaking Bad spinoff is set to premiere February 9

Fans of Breaking Bad don’t have to wait much longer to revisit at least one character from the show. Better Call Saul, the much-anticipated Breaking Bad prequel, will debut on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 10:00 pm, AMC announced Thursday.

The spinoff’s second episode will air the next night, Monday, Feb. 9, at the same time and will continue to air on Mondays at 10:00 pm.

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and writer Peter Gould will return for the new show. Set six years before Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) meets his meth-making clients Walter and Jesse, the show explores the history of the man audiences know as Saul but who once went by Jimmy McGill.

TIME Video Games

The Game of Thrones Video Game Trailer Looks Almost as Bloody as the Show

The game features the voices of Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey

HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series doesn’t return until the spring, but fans will be able to get their fix with a Playstation 4 video game based on the show.

The six-part episodic game from Telltale (which also turned the similarly popular Walking Dead series into a game) will follow the lesser-known House Forrester, a family from Westeros that has declared an allegiance to the Starks but who must find a way to survive during The War of the Five Kings. The family appears briefly in the George R.R. Martin novels, but not in the show.

Familiar characters like Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister and Margaery Tyrell (voiced by the actors who play those roles on the show, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Natalie Dormer) will make appearances. The game will begin around the end of season three of the series and end before the events of season five.

Telltale has yet to announce a release date for part one of the game, dubbed “Episode One: Iron From Ice.”

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