Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: A documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick's The Shining which continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery more than thirty years after its release. Using voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments, Room 237 investigates five very different points of view drawing the audience into a new maze, one with many ways in, but no way out. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 28, 2013
    Like “The Shining” and its maze within a maze, Mr. Ascher’s movie is something of a labyrinth. Puzzling your way through its compilation of vaguely lucid and crackpot ideas is pleasurable though, for avid movie lovers, it may also feel like a warning.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Feb 10, 2013
    Room 237 captures the true nature of viewing, talking about and dissecting movies to the nth degree and it is infectious.
  3. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Mar 27, 2013
    The effect of Room 237 is intense. It’s a deep dive into the rabbit hole of semiotics, designed to train viewers to become alert to what they’re really seeing.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 26, 2013
    Room 237 asks that you bring your own noodles; as docs go, it leaves you with questions, some worry and rib-sticking satiation.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 29, 2013
    Even these ludicrous notions illustrate the real point of Room 237, as I see it, which is that “The Shining” is a disturbing, complicated and highly unusual creation of pop cinema that works on many levels, and whose slow-acting toxin continues to spread through our cultural veins more than 30 years later.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 4, 2013
    I found most of what's actually put forth in the film interpretively ridiculous. But I'm just one theorist among millions, and the film worked for me anyway.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 28, 2013
    I’m probably more intrigued than 99.3 percent of the American public by the idea of deconstructing the hidden symbols in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” but the theories proposed in the doc Room 237 aren’t eye-opening. They’re laughable.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 25
  2. Negative: 9 out of 25
  1. Sep 25, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Apr 21, 2013
    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 the many layers of subtext that the genius was certainly capable of creating. Expand
  3. Dec 23, 2013
    An interesting topic selection when it comes to the theme the doc is contributing. But, poor execution and unclear when the main suggestion is that the Moon landing was fake and that was Kubrick who directed the so called video of it. Could have been better Expand
  4. Apr 8, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'm shocked the critics liked this as much as they did. It's strange that you never see the documentarians' faces during the film and the stock footage of old movie-goers is annoying as hell. Most importantly, toward the end, the narrator explains that he was unemployed at home thinking about the movie obsessively and that he has no idea if any of this stuff was really intended by Kubrick. He suggests that the subjective intent of the artist never really matters. Hmmmm. As for the good stuff, all of the Apollo 11 imagery is interesting, but suggesting that Kubrick faked the images of the actual moon landing seems like a stretch even though the never say that the moon landing didn't happen. The Native American images were certainly interesting to dwell on. But to spend so much time on "cool" coincidences in overlapping images when playing the film backwards and forwards at the same time is ridiculous. My final thought is that it's great dwelling on this film again after all these years, but this movie seems like the musings of the film editor for High Times magazine, not fodder for a feature film. Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2013
    For every interesting point these Kubrick "experts" make, there are two Dark-Side-of-the-Moon-played-along-with-The-Wizard-of-Oz leaps of faith. There's value in exploring the intricacies of such a classic film, but the pacing of this documentary suffers due to the inclusion of some pretty silly (and lengthy) conspiracy theories. Unless it's really a movie about ridiculous obsession. In that case, 11/10. Expand
  6. Jul 13, 2013
    This has to be a joke. Can we just talk about how poorly made this is? The score, interviews, talking and narration is all incredibly choppy and the dramatizations are pretty bad. The people talking about their beliefs are essentially babbling; their arguments and discussions are embarrassingly incoherent, not only in what they're saying, but how they presented it. There are multiple times near the ending where these dumbasses negate and contradict their entire arguments, which are already inane to begin with. One argument says that a tray on a desk makes it looks like Ullman has an erection while shaking hands with Jack. Another says that Room 237 is a sex room and all of the carpet patterns look like penises. We don't know any of the people, their names or their jobs, so they have no credibility at all. One of the men confesses that he's unemployed and obsessed with The Shining, while a woman confesses that she got one of her conspiracy theories from her nine-year-old son. The documentary is such a terrific idea but its execution was shockingly, painfully bad and it actually made The Shining one of my favorite films of all time worse. The more they talked about it, the worse it got, and I got angrier. The people talking sound like they're mentally disabled or mentally ill; there are parts where the voiceovers stop and literally they say, "Wait, I have to help my son. He's crying, but I don't know. Ha ha." These people are so painfully stupid. I've been YouTube videos infinitely better than this pile of crap. A woman behind me was dying laughing at the film, and I started laughing as well. I guess I got some laughs out of it, but they ultimately bored me and made me angry with one of my favorite films of all time. 2.5/10, abysmal, two thumbs down, far below mediocre, etc. Expand
  7. Jun 14, 2014
    Moronic. Avoid at all cost , unless you think Bigfoot was behind the Kennedy assassination. In fact, that might be a better theory than the ones you get here to explain the meanings behind "The Shining". Expand

See all 25 User Reviews