Ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I’m running away from myself, I guess.”
Man's trauma comes back to haunt him. The ghosts of our past don't always remain silent, locked away in our memories; sometimes they come back to haunt us. To remind us that they're still a part of us; that the pain will always remain, along with the trauma that brings along. That we will hurt, and keep hurting as we go on. That the hurt won't stop until we meet our end, or when the pain meets its end.
For Danny Torrance, both of those ends came together mutually. A past he forever looked to escape; one that he tried to bury in his memory, but finally caught up to him. Memory catches up with us, so does our past, and eventually, it must all come to an end - the memories, our pasts, and ourselves; the finality of our mortal human existence. Danny's past comes crumbling down with the Overlook Hotel being engulfed in flames, but with that, his past brings him down to the grave too, taking his life and memories with him to the end of his line.
Tormented all his life, perhaps going down by saving a friend, and maybe even by saving his own self from his memories and his past was the best way he would have liked to go about it. Bringing his past down with him, he passes on, his tormented life, his trauma, his past all fading into thin air as he moves on from our plane. Perhaps moving on changed his view on things, on his powers and people with powers similar to his - their 'shine'.
Communicating with Abra from beyond he tells her, "Shine on, Abra Stone. Shine on." He has grown past his wariness about the powers he shared with others, telling Abra to embrace her 'shine', to inspire others with the same abilities and with the same fears of using their powers.
What was a wary and fearful Dan, manifested into a hopeful and inspirational figure for Abra, even from beyond the grave. What I mean to say with all this is that we can be better, improve, grow, mature, learn, and manifest better versions of ourselves. What we feel now might be sorrowful, disdained, mellow, bitter, painful, furious, but what we can grow out of and mature into is so much more than that. Broken or not, we're all looking for ways to be who we want to be; to become better versions of ourselves.
For some of us, that might be harder. Some of us feel broken. Close to death. Alone. In solitude. In pain, with so much anger and sadness. Just awful. But this is merely a beginning for us. There's so much more out there for us. There's time for us to grow out of all our self-pity, self-resentment and self-hurt. We have time and we have the ability to grow out of this. We may be feeling all this pain and solitude right now, but there's space to improve; to knock out the pain and bring in joy, comfort, acceptance. There's space for hope and improvement - something I personally believe the troubled character of Danny Torrance in this film personally goes through and strives for, and I think it would be wise to follow suit in believing in ourselves, and that we can improve. Belief is pivotal but we have to take steps to make sure we can improve. Steps to push out all our pain and hurt, to try and remedy the past, to tackle our feelings, because facing it head-on is the only way we will eventually improve and grow as people.
So, here's to self-improvement, because we all truly deserve better. We deserve the best for ourselves. We deserve happiness, love, acceptance, belonging, comfort. We deserve to live life without the intense hurt and pain following us with each and every step. Here's to the character of Danny Torrance, and here's to Michael Flanagan for bringing this story and character to life, and showing us - on the big screen - that change is possible because we truly deserve the best for ourselves.
Here's to DOCTOR SLEEP.