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Room 237 (2013)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 120
Fresh: 112 | Rotten: 8

Mysterious and provocative, Room 237 is a fascinating journey into the world of obsessive cinephilles.

91

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 3

Mysterious and provocative, Room 237 is a fascinating journey into the world of obsessive cinephilles.

audience

56

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 13,145

My Rating

Movie Info

Many movies lend themselves to dramatic interpretations, but none as rich and far ranging as Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. In LA filmmaker Rodney Ascher's ROOM 237, we hear from people who have developed far-reaching theories and believe they have decoded the hidden symbols and messages buried in the late director's film. Carefully examining The Shining inside out, and forwards and backwards, ROOM 237 is equal parts captivating, provocative and pure pleasure. It gives voice to the fans and

Unrated,

Documentary, Television, Horror

Sep 24, 2013

$0.3M

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All Critics (120) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (112) | Rotten (8) | DVD (3)

A curious and entertaining documentary.

June 12, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The human brain is a marvellously suggestible organ.

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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[A] strange, frustrating, occasionally fascinating doc ...

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Room 237" evolves from an ode to movie love at its most delirious to a wry examination of the crackpot mind at work.

May 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's enough real evidence supporting the theory that Kubrick was a genius, and that's pretty entertaining all by itself.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's about the human need for stuff to make sense - especially overpowering emotional experiences - and the tendency for some people to take that sense-making to extremes.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Inelegant in the way it assembles all this stuff ... but anyone who's ever obsessed over the subtext of a beloved movie will find it amusing.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

An intellectual exercise, and an entertaining one, especially for those who don't want to label The Shining as just a ghost story.

May 31, 2013 Full Review Source: MLive.com
MLive.com

It has the same entertainment value as listening to a late-night radio host indulge his listeners on Roswell, Area 51 and 9/11. Everything sounds completely crackers, until it all makes crazy sense.

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

What emerges from Room 237 is not a denigration of conspiracies, but a kind of celebration of our ability to create patterns where (perhaps) none exist.

May 9, 2013 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

"Room 237" could become an essential companion piece to "The Shining" from now on. For those who see both, it will be impossible to think about one without the other.

May 3, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

...all about the work of criticism - finding fresh avenues of delight.

May 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Watching it makes you feel like you're attending a really entertaining film class where your classmates confidently let their freak flags fly.

May 2, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

It's an essay about the human need to reject the notion of a random universe and find order and meaning in existence. These people are developing their own creation myths, with Kubrick the mastermind responsible for the Intelligent Design.

April 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Termitic film nerds could chow down for years on the wood chips.

April 27, 2013 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

You know when "Room 237″ starts getting really scary? When the people in the film start making sense.

April 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Kubrick fans and movie geeks will want to check this film out as soon as possible

April 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Kubrick fans will take 'Shining' to 'Room 237.'

April 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

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.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Some of the interpretations seem more of a stretch than others but all are entertainingly presented by director Rodney Ascher. (The movie) serves as a testament to Stanley Kubrick's cinematic mastery.

April 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Dearest
Movie Dearest

Audience Reviews for Room 237

Like the tagline says; 'Some movies stay with you forever..and ever'. The Shining is one of those movies. Personally the thing that stays with me the most is the visible shadow of the helicopter during the sweeping title sequence. It has bothered me more than most film botherations I have ever had. Why though? This is what sprung to mind when watching Room 237. It really is a film that stays with you, maybe even subconsciously. I had no idea that there were so many interpretation theories going around regarding the film. Kubrick was the master of hidden-meaning, I'm sure some of the theories featured are probably close to the truth but then Kubrick also had a sense of humour which has been a little overlooked. Some of the interpretations are obvious, especially the Native American stuff. I thought that was clearly part of the film. The faked Moon-landing theories on the other hand were interesting ideas. The documentary needs to be viewed as a project in deconstructive critical theory rather than fact. I found it to be just as hypnotic as the film and a great little exercise in film analysis. A must see for fellow Cinephiles.
March 7, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

"Some Movies Stay With You Forever... And Ever... And Ever"

From purely a subject matter point of view, Room 237 is heaven for me. I, like the interviewees, always find myself going back and looking at all the little details of The Shining. Every time I re-watch it, I end up surfing the Internet on different theories, so seeing that a documentary was actually made on this subject really sucked me in.

While I enjoyed Room 237 based on my personal love for The Shining and all of Stanley Kubrick's complicated works, it could have been better. I didn't really care for the style of it. We didn't get to see any of the interviewees, as their voices were just voiceovers of endless scenes of movies. A lot of the scenes were obviously from The Shining, but there were other Kubrick movies, as well as just other movies shown for the whole runtime. I didn't really care for that aspect of it at all.

Overall, this is an okay movie, but you have to be really interested in the movie to get anything out of it. A lot of the theories seem kind of crazy and a lot of the details they get into don't seem all that important, but as a starting point for making your own opinions about what all the below the surface details of the Shining mean, this is a cool little film.
February 16, 2014
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Wonderful and dreadfully, dreadfully misunderstood. Funnily enough, that's what it sets out to solve.
November 23, 2013
Idrees Khan

Super Reviewer

It's obvious why the critics liked this film: it speaks about theories and criticism concerning a classic film. It's rooted in the simple assumption that a film can be interpreted by many factions with their own theories and biases against a film, and their opinions are valid, and even put above conventional opinions of certain films. The film that is discussed in this documentary is "The Shining" based on the book by Stephen King, and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick was eccentric, multi-talented, and now is remembered as one of the most inventive directors of all time. A film as multi-layered as "The Shining" was bound to create a fan base that was diverse and divided. "Room 237" is put together interestedly, and yet is a film that lacks any credibility. Director Rodney Ascher found a vast group of people, who are never shown onscreen, and are never truly identified except for in the first several minutes of the film. We as the audience don't know if these people are critics, professors, or just people who have opinions. There is constant voice-over narration over different scenes in the film where these people explain their theories based mostly on visual clues and their own inert intuition. Many of the theories have a strong basis for their hypothesis, but many others sound like gibberish made up by disillusioned people in the height of hysteria. At one point Juli Kearns goes on and on about how bright the sunlight streaming through a window is, going on like it was a clear and suggestive sign. Another narrator takes a single frame and suggests the juxtaposition behind a man's crotch and a paper tray is metaphorical of a phallus. These strange and oblique suggestions of Kubrick's inventive and complex canon feels more like a conspiracy YouTube video than it does a documentary. Besides the voice-overs being crackpots, they're longwinded and often are giving their recordings from their homes (obvious from one person's son crying in the background). It's simply very amateurish, and for a film about Kubrick there better be some authenticity and care attributed to who you choose to represent your theorists, by not plucking people off the street.
October 14, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

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