What is the relevance of the word "Shutter" in the movie title "Shutter Island"? How does it connect to the movie?

2 Answers 2


It is nothing more than just the name of the island where the story takes place - Shutter Island (in Boston harbour). The island is fictional; Dennis Lehane (the author of the Shutter Island novel, on which the film is based) was inspired by the hospital and grounds on Long Island in Boston Harbor.

  • I suppose it sounds both plausible and ominous, but without any means of reading Lehane's mind, I expect that this is the most solid answer one can give. Jul 26, 2018 at 9:56
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    Shutter is a noun that has two popular meaning. A hinged panel to shut something closed. The shutter of a camera, which fundamentally is the same as it keeps something closed (the lens). I'm trying to understand if this noun was picked over say Ashecliffe Island. Was it even Shutter Island otherwise or was it only as part of the fantasy created for Andrew Laeddis?
    – MovieMe
    Jul 26, 2018 at 13:10
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    Shutter is also a verb meaning "to close." Jul 26, 2018 at 21:57
  • @MovieMe That is interesting because HBO *was developing a Shutter Island prequel series from Scorsese (and probably Lehane, since he had also just worked as a consultant on Boardwalk Empire, which season 5's Gillian ark seems rather Shutter Island-ish IMO) tentatively titled Ashcliffe. I think the project is probably dead now, but here is a link: vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/08/… Jul 27, 2018 at 0:01
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    I also think it could be a pun or double entendre with the words Shutter (to close off windows, which can also be a metaphor for Teddy's condition) and Shudder (he shuddered at the thought) as the wind can be used as a haunting element of nature and Shutter Island does feature some epic storms, let alone, as I mentioned, Teddy's condition. Jul 27, 2018 at 0:06

I read it in one of the discussion forums on this movie. One of the comments presented a few interesting anagrams of the movie's title (Shutter Island) -

  1. Truths Denials
  2. Truths and Lies
  3. Daniel's truths

Of course, most probably this is just an interesting play on the title by one of the viewers but given the important part that anagrams have played in this movie, I see (although tiny) a probability that the title may have an anagramical reason as well.

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