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The Institute

  NR HD Closed Captioning

Spencer McCall

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Plot Summary

"To those dark horses with the spirit to look up and see. . . a recondite family awaits. " Welcome to the Jejune Institute, a mind-bending San Francisco phenomenon where 10,000 people became "inducted" without ever quite realizing what they'd signed up for. Was it a cult? Was it an elaborate game? Told from the participants’ perspectives, this film looks over the precipice at an emergent new art form where real world and fictional narratives collide, creating unforeseen and often unsettling consequences. Fusing elements of counter-culture, new religious movements and street art, this film invites viewers into a secret underground world teeming just beneath the surface of everyday life.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 17
  • Fresh: 12
  • Rotten: 5
  • Average Rating: 6.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: "The Institute" stumbles between documentary and exploratory simulation, at once confusing and pedantic. – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times, Oct 10, 2013

Fresh: Mystery is part of the appeal. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter, Oct 21, 2013

Fresh: Rarely have I felt so absorbed by a movie about people I found so incredibly annoying. – Scott Foundas, Village Voice, Oct 7, 2013

Fresh: McCall does a skillful job of reconstructing this hipster-centric game, though much of the proceedings still come off as one of those "you had to be there" affairs. – David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 4, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

To those Dark Horses

Anyone who has ever felt urban life is boring, unimaginative, or lacking playfulness must see this film. THE INSTITUTE sums up years of Nonchalnace effervescence into a stirring picture, which will make you yearn to relive Socio-Reengineering Seminar 2011 and bring back that childlike sense of wonder. Eva bless.

For Curious Minds

An incredibly intriguing piece of film making, The Institute is a real life version of "The Game", with dashes of "Exit through the Gift Shop" and "Resurrect Dead". I laughed out loud at several scenes, and alternately found passages to be mystical, wondrous, inspirational, or simply bizarre. Part of the growing genre of "mind-f_ck" movies, It bears repeat viewing to decipher (or scrutinize) its many embedded layers of meaning. Highly recommended.

Very Interesting

It was interesting, we all want to think that we belong to something much larger than we are and this intertwinded you into that process.

A good rental, I would not buy it.

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The Institute
View In iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2013

Customer Ratings