The Shining - Film Analysis

The Shining - Film Analysis from MUST SEE FILMS on Vimeo.

The Shining Analysis



Stanley Kubrick’s the shining was released in 1980, but has rinsen to popularity and investigation in the last few years.

Most noteably in the 2012 documetary room 237, which explored multiple theories around the meaning of the film.

Since information for this film was gathered from enthusatic bloggers a lot of information already exsits on this film, espically around interpretations of the apollo moon landings, holluacaust, native amercia and numbers theories.

So my aim with this video is to add some strength and evidence to a theory which is less explored in room 237, the ideas of History repeating itself and jack being a sexually abusive father.

Steve Martin once said that ‘all life’s riddles are solved in the movies’

In the case of the shining however I think it raises more questions than it answers. I think Kubrick was more interested in presenting an enigma than a solid definable meaning.

Therefore all interpretations hold some weight as the film is so subjective and for me the theme which is the most clear is that the shining ‘explores the darker side of the human condition.’

Jack is a sexually abusive father

Several elements in the film point towards jack abusing danny, this is supported by different images in the film.

In order to present something new I must first recap some information that has been identified before by other theoriests, this is more for understanding and context than been discovered by myself.

If we can assume that it was jack that lured danny into room 237 where he is strangled by using the tennis ball he is seen with earlier in the film, then it is possible that jack was waiting for danny inside.

If we compare another scene where jack is waiting for danny and jacks first entry into room 237, we can parrallel moments that support the likelyness that danny was abused.

The camera positions and character movements are simliar in both situaions. Both characters are sat waiting and reach out. There is also a mirror on the right in both scene and presence of a bathroom.

Jack kisses both characters and soon we are faced with the horrible truth of what is about to happen next.

Other elements in the film point toward jack being homosexual and also attracked to younger boys.

Jack reads a magainze of playgirl which features an article on pediphielia.

Jack wheres a t-shirt with stovington which was the school jack taught at in the book, again showing the presense of children.

Jacks confession has the words, jack, play, boy.

If we compare the compositions and actions to these shots, it hints at the trumatic acts danny may have been involved with.

Ths shot again shares elements of compostion, shower curtains and mirrors with room 237.

And at with a simliar framing that removes the characters head, we can also see that danny is assoicted with bears at different points in the film.

Adding more evidence to these parrallel shots.

History repeated itself.

This sets us up to understand this next connection.

One of the biggest questions discussed about the shining espcially on the movie geek united podcast is what is the meaning of this strange jump cut during room 237 scene.

Despite the film being in the horror genre and at face value about the fantasical, Kubrick never resolves to cinematic manipulation through jumpy editing.

Therefore the inclusion of this shot most be intentional and for a reason.

At first I though it was a cut backward in time to show us the woman rising out of the bathtub before she approached jack, and though nothing more of it.

But since we have just explained the film doesn’t use this kind of edit at any other point and is very uncommon with kubricks other films. The most logical explanation is that there are 2 woman in the bathroom. 1 approaching jack and a 2nd in the bathtub. 2 identical woman, where else have we seen this idea in the film.

The twins, gradys’ daughters who were murdered in the hotel. And since grady calls jack the caretaker and jack sees visions of the past when he looks into different mirrors , this presents the idea that the twins were abused by grady before they were eventually murdered. And the woman in the bathroom are the haunting ghosts of the terrible acts of the past.

Also what does danny invision the first time he visits room 237, the twins, perhaps the twins symbolise evidence of guilt from the past.

Notice that danny and the twins share scenes together and that jack and grady are also closely assoicated.

If you watch the shining forwards and backwards at the same time you can see several images that connnect to support meaning in the story.

The bed conversation ties in with jacks conversation with grady about how his family should be punichsed. Again linking jack and gradys actiosn towards their families.

We can see jack associated with grady and danny associated with the twins.


The idea of history repeating itself presents grady as the caretaker, abuse with the twins, murder and then passes this legacy onto jack.

Jack becomes the caretaker, abuses danny, but at this point the timeline is broken as danny and wendy manage to escape, so the question is did jack pass his curse onto danny.

An alternat ending to the suggests that jack may have passed o this curse in a 3 minute scene which was cut by kubrick on the opening day of the films release.

It describes ullman checking up on wendy and danny in a hostpital and returning the tennis ball to danny, suggesting that he is somehow still stuck with this part of his father and history will unescapabley repeat itself.

However as the film stands, jack is frozen and is forever trapped in the hotel and the viscious cycle of abuse has ended, making the shining a dark but hopeful ending in which danny is saved.

I think kubrick presents stories of ambiguity, not to confuse or intise us but as an extremely intelligent, well read person he still doesn’t have the answers to our human condition but presents our capabilities without judgement and the bizarre circumstances in certain movies are only a relfection of our inner most battles with insecurities, urges, desires and our unescapable human condition.

  • 11/08/2014 17:30:28
  • |
  • Film Analysis
  • |
  • Darren Foley

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Add your e-mail to make sure you never miss another video & stay up to date