The Butterfly Effect
Runtime: 1 h 53 min
Rated: R
Released: 23 Jan 2004
Director: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Writer: J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress
Actors: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Melora Walters, Elden Henson
DVD release: 20 Jul 2007
Box Office: $57.7M
Company: New Line Cinema
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Tomato user meter: 81%
Tomato consensus: The premise is intriguing, but it's placed in the service of an overwrought and tasteless thriller.

The Butterfly Effect

Sci-Fi, Thriller
A young man blocks out harmful memories of significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life.
33%Rotten Tomatoes
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    • Haunting, Tragic, but ultimately Brilliant
      I have seen this movie just a few hours ago and i have to say that it is brilliantly conceived. Definately not a feel good film, but rather dark and tragic in every sense of the word. Yes the performances were above and beyond etc etc... and it helped, but the film itself is an emotionally provacative piece of work that had me feeling sad, morose and depressed. Nonetheless i think that this makes it a very powerful film to evoke such strong feelings while watching it. It is, for lack of a better term, very human. On a different note there were also many complexities to do with chaos theory inderlying the raw emotional turmoil that the characters endure such as time travel, alternate universes and such, but rather than rely on these interesting ideas and theories to carry the movie, it is instead simply used as a background setting for an incredible story. I loved it for what it is, but not something you see to be entertained. See this movie but don't take your family.
      show full movie reviewsource5/10
    • Surprisingly a great movieAshton Kutcher plays Evan Treborn, a troubled man who suffered blackouts as a child. When he discovers a way to travel back into the body of his past self, his time trips start to cause negative results on his present. As he uses his powers to try to fix his past and present, the effect escalates, creating alternate realities, many of which are worse than the past that he is trying to change.

      The Butterfly Effect is a terrific thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The previews looked very intense and the whole film is pretty much like that. It held onto the audience right at the start and it didn't let go until the end. The plot is nothing new but the execution was very nice. It offers a bunch of interesting and unpredictable twists so it's hard to see where things are going. The whole film is like that, just one long engaging thrill ride.

      The acting is okay, some people did better than others. Ashton Kutcher is surprisingly good as Evan and he does a good job for his first serious movie. Amy Smart is very pretty and talented and she plays Kayleigh perfectly. The only person I didn't really like was Melora Walters. She was pretty wooden and unconvincing. Besides for her, the acting was pretty good and convincing. No one really did a bad job.

      This film was directed and written by both Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. They did make their mistakes but the film is still pretty good. The critics never gave this movie a chance. As soon as they heard Ashton Kutcher was in it, they all prepared to give it thumbs down. The movie moves around a lot that its hard to keep up but it also keeps you paying attention. Plenty of movies have gone back in time before but this one does it so more effectively that its almost original in that sense. The beginning is done well, the middle it starts dragging but it starts picking up and the ending is done extremely well. This is one of the best films of 2004 and certainly an entertaining one. In the end, this underrated gem is worth checking out. Rating 8/10
      show full movie reviewsource7/10
    • See it more than once!The film has never been showed in Denmark, (where I come from) so the press has never reviewed it. It took me 2 times to get the point but when I realized every part of the film, I felt a huge rush! I'm sure when I see it the 3rd time it will be an even bigger experience to me. Every part of the film plays an important role to the main thread. Every details have a role! The film is like reading a poem from the 18th century, where every sentence means something. The director is a pure genius! Those who've criticized the film, should really see it again, because you'll then notice all the details which makes this film excellent! Without a doubt one of the best films I've seen!show full movie reviewsource10/10
    • Change one thing. Change everythingEvan has always suffered from something that causes him to "blackout" during times of extreme crisis. All through his childhood he would blank out right before something drastic happens and not remember anything that happened. Now in college, he reads through a journal he used to write as a kid to notice that all of a sudden these harmful memories are coming back to him. When he goes to ask his childhood sweetheart about it she doesn't want to talk about it. He finds out however, that he can actually tap into his past and change what happened in these events. Unfortunately, every time he changes the past, even in the slightest way the future is also effected.

      All scores are out of a possible 10:

      Story: 9 - VERY interesting story on psychology and how the mind sometimes blanks out events. Also playing on the theory of Butterfly Effect which is explained in the very beginning of the movie "If a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world, the ripple effect could cause a tempest on the other"

      Acting: 8 - The lead girl in this movie did a great job. Since she was the result of many of the alternate realities, she had to go though as a crack whore, a sorority princess, a broken waitress and other things. Kutcher seemed to do what he does best... playing a crazy college kid. He's not as comedic in this role, but adds his charm in for fun. This isn't a comedy but its got its moments.

      Music: 8 - A few good scores. On the more peaceful moments it sounds real well.

      Sound Mix: 8 - Freaking scary! There are parts that really jump out at you. Since one of the dramatic events in the main character's life was dynamite going off, the sounds of him blacking out goes off like the dynamite exploding. I'll admit, i even jumped a few times.

      Camera-work / Lighting: 7 - It suited the scenes real well. In some of the fight scenes it gets pretty wavy for effect that does real well and makes it more intense.

      Editing: 9 - This must have been one of the hardest things in this movie. Since it involves alternate realities as well as time, a lot of thought must have gone into making all world seem to make sense. Since changing the reality effects where the main character is when he wakes up in the present, all of his "missed" memories flood back into him. They did really well with keeping the continuity up to par.

      Uniqueness: 8 - Its not horror. It is scary most of the time, but its also a romance for the most part since his largest goal is making his girlfriend happy while keeping everything else in the world tame. It doesn't go into the sci-fi time travel stuff either which is good since its more of a mental thing than flux capacitors and DeLoreans.

      Worth: 8 - Worth seeing. Even if you aren't a fan of Punk'd or Dude Where's My.. you'll enjoy seeing Kutcher in this role. The story is very gripping and almost makes you review how things could have changed in your life had some different events altered it.

      Overall Score (Not an average): 8 - Really good movie. The sound is powerful, there's a good romance about this which should be cute for the tearjerkers who want something new. The acting is really good for the most part and the shock of some of the scenes will definitely grab people.

      Reviewer's Insight (Including bias): Time travel has always been an interest for me. BackToTheFuture, my favorite book "Replay" by Ken Grimwood and some others. This movie isn't ALL about time travel. Its what small events in life end up resulting to, whether it be the biggest event in your life or a small one. Changing reality isn't truly the answer to happiness. As they say in the movie, You Can't Play God. Time will catch up to you no matter what you do to change it. "Change one thing. Change everything" as the movie's caption says and it definitely shows in every alternate reality he tries to effect.
      show full movie reviewsource9/10
    • A Real Tripped Out Roller CoasterMan... Whew... Wow! I'm at a loss of words to describe this high octane, tantalizing, brain-stimulating movie. The acting: excellent. The plot: superb. The story: great. The drama/suspense: mind numbing.

      How the writers were able to put this story together so flawlessly, I don't know, and how the director was able to actualize it, even more amazing. There was plenty of visual stimuli as well as mental stimuli as you waited to see the outcome of each alteration made by the main character, Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher).

      The movie kept me guessing and kept me at the edge of my seat, and the writers outdid themselves by making sure the movie didn't peter out with some lame ending. The ending was icing on the cake and it capped what should be a classic.
      show full movie reviewsource8/10