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One of Hollywood's favorite types of movies are those that are "based on a true story." But just how true is that story? It varies in most cases, but it turns out that one movie, in particular, was significantly less true than others. One website has taken on the task of reviewing the authenticity of those "true story" movies scene by scene and The Imitation Game is actually more fiction than fact.
If you need a new way to waste time online during the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve, you could do a lot worse than Information Is Beautiful. The site has put together a great page that looks at several different movies that were purportedly true, and they have studied all the available data to see how much of the film is actually true. The most surprising thing may be how many of the film's reviewed are mostly accurate, however, that just makes The Imitation Game stand out, as only 41.4% of the movie is claimed to be true. It's the only movie being looked at that falls below the 50% mark, making it look like it isn't really based on a true story at all.
Most of the outright false material comes from a couple places. A significant part of The Imitation Game is dedicated to an Inspector named Nock who investigates Alan Turing and thinks the man might have been a spy. In doing so, Nock eventually discovers that Turing is gay. In actuality, the character of Nock is entirely fictional, and nobody ever believed Alan Turing was a spy. The investigation into him was specifically in regards to indecency law violations because Turing was gay. In addition, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of Turning as a shy and standoffish man. From all accounts, while he could be harsh to people he viewed as less intelligent than himself, he was a quite sociable person.
The site looks at every scene in several movies and rates it. True, if the scene pretty much happened as shown, true-ish, for scenes that may not be exactly right, but contain a spirit of truth with some evidence, false-ish, mostly untrue, but with reasonable dramatic license, or false, for those moments that are just entirely fictional.
In case you're interested, if you want to see a movie that was really based on a true story, check out Selma. While there are a few segments listed as unknown, because they were unable to uncover evidence to prove some scenes true or false, everything that could be confirmed turns out to be true, or true-ish. It's the only movie with a perfect score. Other films that turn out to be significantly true include The Big Short, Spotlight, and 12 Years a Slave. American Sniper and Dallas Buyers Club don't fair nearly as well, but they look like documentaries compared to The Imitation Game.
How did your favorite true story fair? Let us know in the comments.