MovieChat Forums > The Shining (1980) Discussion > 40 years old! The ending still ambiguous...

40 years old! The ending still ambiguous.


One of the many great things about this movie, is the open for interpretation ending.

Experts on this movie have theories but they remain just that, theories.

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What "interpretive ending"?

It's simple: Jack froze to death in the maze and joined the evil spirits in the Overlook Hotel, whilst Wendy and Danny escaped.

There's nothing to interpret.

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Did you miss the picture on the wall?





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The picture is what I mean, it contains all of the evil spirits in the Overlook Hotel, including Jack.

I really don't see what the misunderstanding is.

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So how exactly was Jack alive AND a spirit in a picture from the 1920's?

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Final scene.

https://youtu.be/Abey64kpZws

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We didn't actually see the picture until AFTER Jack died, so he appeared afterwards. And the spirits were stuck in the 1920s, so he too would join them there. And the Gold Room scene was the first time Jack saw all of them and didn't feel disturbed, and they liked him then too.

It's really very simple, Redsfan001.

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Thanks, I kind of like that interpretation of the ending.

But as viewers, we don't know for sure, it is speculation. What if the photo exist AS IS before Mr.Torrance arrived?

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The photo is from the 1920s, which is the time period the spirits are stuck in, including those that came later, like Delbert Grady and Jack, so maybe he was always there? It's one of a series of group photos, and maybe no-one ever noticed before?

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😄 fuck it...I like your interpretation of the ending.

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The most difficult thing to read here is...40 years old.


I saw it when it first came out. Seems like only yesterday.


I recall thinking on first viewing that it wasn't at the level of Dr. Strangelove or 2001...but all these years later, now it seems that it is.

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The interpretation is Jack Torrance is a reincarnation of the man seen in the picture in 1921. Presumably, the man in the picture was the caretaker then. How else does Jack know the people whom he "saw" in the hotel? It just so happens that the person from 1921 looks like him and Jack could is his doppelganger. Just look up the definition of doppelganger and you'll see the movie's explanation.

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What were the lights in the distance that Jack kept seeing in the maze? I assumed those were exits, but every time he would see one he would turn back into the maze.

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The maze is the ultimate metaphor for the film itself. It highlights that there is no single key or answer to the film's questions. It is complex, confusing, and multi-varied.

The lights, then, are seen as illuminating the maze-like quality of the film. What is interesting to note is that Jack, in following Danny's footsteps, gets lost. What this symbolizes, in a rather beautiful meta narrative, is that the indexical quality of the footprints; that is, what the audience sees, is not to be taken at face value. The footprints—much like the symbols and images in the film—have led Jack astray, just like the audience.

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When I first saw the movie, I thought it had a weird plot that veered away from the book and great cinematography, but didn't understand it. Stanley Kubrick "was" a great director and film maker probably until he did Barry Lyndon. The Shining wasn't something that made sense of the material. I though Kubrick could be brilliant in his directing and cinematography, but behind the scenes we saw that he was a tyrant and his actors hated him. Anyway, if one didn't understand him, then The Shining became an incredible bore despite all of the images.

Afterward, people began to explain the things in the film and then we began to understand what was happening. Kubrick fans started to piece the movie together and it became a great masterpiece. Who would have thunk it after reading the book and watching the movie?

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I was at the mall yesterday at Regal Theaters and found out there's a 40th anniversary showing coming. Kubrick's films look great on the big screen even tho I don't think this one's IMAX. The thing is it's 155 mins long. Would you go see this again on the big screen? The blood-o-vator scene would be awesome and freak me out. I couldn't be caught in a gush of blood like that.

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There's nothing supernatural at all happening in the hotel. Just psycho and his family who freezes to death at the end. And the guy on the photo at the end just resembles Jack by pure coincidence.

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