User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 75
  2. Negative: 15 out of 75
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  1. Mar 12, 2015
    8
    Highly entertaining. A must watch for any fan of the Shining. Some theories are a little far fetched and over analyzed, but interesting nonetheless. The ambient music is very well done and enhances the viewing experience. Feels like being in the 80's again....fun.
  2. Sep 25, 2013
    7
    "Room 237" is a subjective documentary that gives voice, and only voice, to five fanatical obsessives who have developed numerous theories based on sensational clues in the subliminally glimpsed details within Stanley Kubrick's classic "The Shining." There are five very different points of view illuminated, and first time director Rodney Ascher utilizes voice over, film clips, animation,"Room 237" is a subjective documentary that gives voice, and only voice, to five fanatical obsessives who have developed numerous theories based on sensational clues in the subliminally glimpsed details within Stanley Kubrick's classic "The Shining." There are five very different points of view illuminated, and first time director Rodney Ascher utilizes voice over, film clips, animation, and dramatic reenactments. These elements together draw the audience into a new labyrinth, one with endless detours and dead ends presenting many ways in, and ultimately no definitive way out.

    Ascher has intelligently presented his film with a working balance between the sublime and the ridiculous. In order for "Room 237" to work it must establish some credibility to avoid becoming an outright parody of sorts. Kubrick was a notoriously meticulous filmmaker, and there are a series of continuity "errors" in the film that do genuinely seem out-of-place. Persuasive arguments coexist with far-fetched notions as our narrators find symbolism and metaphors in the most innocuous places.

    Most of the speakers were let down with their first viewing of the film, but went back to it, convinced that a brilliant cinematic director couldn't just produce an overly mannered misfire. There must be something more to it than just that. They started to map the geography of The Overlook Hotel, read the posters and props, studied the set decoration for clues. The conclusions widely vary from our group of obsessed fans, suggesting the "The Shining" was really about the Holocaust, a Greek myth, American Manifest Destiny, the genocide of the Native Americans, and Kubrick's formal apology for his part in the faking of the moon landings by Apollo 11.

    We don't know to this day whether Kubrick intended to disguise symbolism into "The Shining," as though he were challenging moviegoers. He did not leave any interviews, magazine articles or books revealing this intention like the magician who even on his deathbed would not reveal his tricks. But this omission is the very thing that allows Ascher to glorify Kubrick as a man who could create a real sense of mystery and unease. For example, the typewriter used by Jack in the movie is a crucial piece, as is the repeat of the number 42, which appears on a jersey and elsewhere. As one of the narrators states, “If you put the number 42 and a German typewriter together, you get the Holocaust.” I wasn't aware of that relationship either, but Ascher illustrates this part of theory by cutting from the notorious tsunami of blood in “The Shining” to a photo of Auschwitz, and then back to Kubrick’s red wave. “Because it was in 1942, the Nazis made the decision to go ahead and exterminate all the Jews they could. And they did so in a highly mechanical” --Mr. Ascher cuts back to the Jack's typewriter “industrial and bureaucratic way.”

    Mr. Ascher’s documentary is something of a maze, puzzling your way through its compilation of vaguely lucid and outlandish ideas is unquestionably entertaining for avid movie lovers. It does raise interesting ideas about how we view films, and what happens if we take the act of viewing a movie into a deeper, more fundamental experience. Thought provoking all of this is, but then again, you're likely to leave the theater with the underlying feeling that "It's nothing more than an interpretation."
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  3. Sep 25, 2013
    9
    Great Documentary!! Huge Kubrick fan and this is a must watch for any of his fans. You will not be disappointed. Very intriguing and pieces a lot of information together from The Shining.
  4. Jul 29, 2013
    8
    Very interesting docu on The Shining. Instead of talking heads the docu consists of shots from Kubrick and other movies while you hear different people explaning stuff. Cool approach! Some stuff is really far fetched but they do acknowledge that, but if you've seen the Shining and wan't to know more about it's hidden meanings I can highly recommend this!
  5. May 31, 2013
    8
    Do not miss t point of this documentary. It is a window into the world of the cinephile conspiracy theorists that is almost as disturbing as The Shining itself at times. Crackpot theories range from connections to moon landing fakery to Holocaust undertones, each put forward by fanatical and obsessed writers and amateurs. The documentary gives these people plenty of opportunity to explainDo not miss t point of this documentary. It is a window into the world of the cinephile conspiracy theorists that is almost as disturbing as The Shining itself at times. Crackpot theories range from connections to moon landing fakery to Holocaust undertones, each put forward by fanatical and obsessed writers and amateurs. The documentary gives these people plenty of opportunity to explain their ideas, but that doesn't mean it agrees with them. It relates how kubrick's movies were so intricate and detailed that they sucked some viewers into an overlook-like world of endless overanalysis and misinterpretation Expand
  6. Apr 21, 2013
    8
    There are more than a few theories presented during this documentary and almost all of them are at least entertaining to listen to. An exercise in stretching your brain in terms of how you view a piece of art. There is nothing concrete on display as far as information is presented and since we will never truly know what Kubrick intended with his film, it is a fun way to wonder about theThere are more than a few theories presented during this documentary and almost all of them are at least entertaining to listen to. An exercise in stretching your brain in terms of how you view a piece of art. There is nothing concrete on display as far as information is presented and since we will never truly know what Kubrick intended with his film, it is a fun way to wonder about the many layers of subtext that the genius was certainly capable of creating. Expand
  7. Mar 29, 2013
    8
    Room 237 is a documentary on making Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece The Shining... And it's epic. The film has good pace it's a good movie and very good acting. The film is disturbing and good at the same time.
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    May 10, 2013
    63
    Are these enlightened critics or dark nutcases themselves?
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Apr 18, 2013
    83
    The credibility of these theories ranges from faintly plausible to frankly ridiculous, but Ascher isn't interested in judging them; his movie is more about the joys of deconstruction and the special kind of obsession that movies can inspire.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 18, 2013
    88
    Watching Room 237 is like being stuck on an airplane next to a stranger hellbent on convincing you of his very detailed, very paranoid theory of the universe. Actually, it’s like being stuck on a plane full of those guys, each with a different yet compellingly insane take on reality. And the in-flight entertainment features only one movie: “The Shining.”