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The Butterfly Effect (2004)

R  |   |  Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  23 January 2004 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 310,706 users   Metascore: 30/100
Reviews: 1,079 user | 181 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Cast

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Kayleigh at 13 (as Irene Gorovaia)
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Sarah Widdows ...
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Storyline

Evan Treborn grows up in a small town with his single, working mother and his friends. He suffers from memory blackouts where he suddenly finds himself somewhere else, confused. Evan's friends and mother hardly believe him, thinking he makes it up just to get out of trouble. As Evan grows up he has fewer of these blackouts until he seems to have recovered. Since the age of seven he has written a diary of his blackout moments so he can remember what happens. One day at college he starts to read one of his old diaries, and suddenly a flashback hits him like a brick! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Das Ende ist erst der Anfang (The end is only the beginning.) See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

23 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El efecto mariposa  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$143,748 (Japan) (13 May 2005)

Gross:

$143,748 (Japan) (13 May 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In early versions of the script, the character of Evan was originally Chris Treborn. When the "T" is moved over, it becomes "Christ Reborn". This was changed to Evan Treborn, which is a play on "Event Reborn". See more »

Goofs

Although this film is set in New York, there is a Canadian speed limit sign in one of the first shots in the movie as the camera pans across the street Evan lives on. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[reading aloud as he writes a note]
Evan: If anyone finds this, it means my plan didn't work and I'm already dead. But if I can somehow go back to the beginning of all of this, I might be able to save her.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title, "The Butterfly Effect," is superimposed over a depiction of a butterfly beating its wings, which is itself superimposed upon an X-ray profile of a human brain. See more »

Connections

Referenced in RuPaul's Drag Race: Scream Queens (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Dark Entries
Written by Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, David J (as David Jay), Peter Murphy
Performed by Bauhaus
Courtesy of 4AD/Beggars Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
What if there's an alternate life for you somewhere, out there, where the cumulative sum of your choices leads to a better reality, a happier and more fulfilling existence?
28 July 2007 | by (Kfar Saba, Israel) – See all my reviews

What if you could go back to major junctions in your life and take the other path? What if there's an alternate life for you somewhere, out there, where the cumulative sum of your choices leads to a better reality, a happier and more fulfilling existence? On the flip-side - what if, at the end of the day, you really can't achieve a solid grip on these things, no matter how hard you try?

A great deal of science fiction works of art have tried to approach these meaningful questions throughout the years, all presenting many philosophical ideas and notions as to how one man can change his own fate, for better or for worse. In this surprisingly good sci-fi adventure from 2004, directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber (who are also behind the screenplay of Final Destination 2) raise all these questions once again, but use a different angle this time around. Time travel is not the issue here. Instead, our lead protagonist, Evan Treborn (portrayed by Hollywood prankster Ashton Kutcher – but more on that later) leads his whole life up until his early 20's without knowing he has a rare medical condition that seemingly helps him shut away traumatic incidents that occurred throughout his childhood and adolescence years. All he remembers from these various occasions are bizarre blackouts. But when a blast from his past comes back into his life only to leave it ever so tragically (Kayleigh Miller, portrayed by the lovely Amy Smart who we've since seen in films such as Just Friends and Crank), Evan learns that he can return to those important lost moments in his life and re-inhabit his younger body, thus changing the present and future. However, with every shift in the past comes an alternate present that may seem better at first, but is in fact a far harsher reality than the original one Evan has left.

What truly touched me about this film was the essence in which it captured the troublesome youth of my generation, that was born in the 1980's, grew up in the 1990's, and is ever since trying to adapt to the ever changing reality in which we all live in. Here, one man tries to alter all this, and his own personal journey is parallel in many ways to the journey many young people go through nowadays. Part of capturing this Generation X notion is the pop-culture presented throughout the film. When you see the young actors and actress fall in love, fight, and grow up real fast, it all happens amidst references to films of the period (Se7en, etc.), outfits, 1980's technology and other devices that fill you up with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and sentiment, as if you were there yourself, living these events and going through all these horrible/wonderful events.

Above all things, the makers of The Butterfly Effect do the unbelievable and turn Ashton Kutcher into a good actor – a feat I thought was unachievable at best. However, in this sci-fi epic it appears as though anything is possible. Bottom line, it was a fresh breath of air when I saw it, left me pondering for days, and gave me the inspiration and write something myself after a long period of writers block. If a film manages to be this inspirational and keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its 113 minutes duration, all I can do is humbly bow down in front of its makers' talents. I'm eagerly waiting for other outings by these young folks.


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