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The Butterfly Effect
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Butterfly Effect More at IMDbPro »

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404 out of 536 people found the following review useful:

A Real Tripped Out Roller Coaster

8/10
Author: view_and_review from California
7 January 2005

Man... 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.

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301 out of 374 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly a great movie

7/10
Author: christian123
14 November 2004

Ashton 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

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363 out of 500 people found the following review useful:

See it more than once!

10/10
Author: daugaard4 from Humlebaek, Denmark
4 January 2005

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!

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261 out of 358 people found the following review useful:

Haunting, Tragic, but ultimately Brilliant

Author: Brendon from Vancouver, BC
25 January 2004

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.

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149 out of 204 people found the following review useful:

Change one thing. Change everything

9/10
Author: Mappyman (mappyman@seanbaby.com) from Atlanta, United States
2 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Evan 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.

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115 out of 144 people found the following review useful:

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?

10/10
Author: Sa'ar Vardi (saarvardi@walla.co.il) from Kfar Saba, Israel
28 July 2007

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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101 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding !

9/10
Author: desire_911 from Qatar
2 August 2008

First of all, a fair warning to EVERYONE... this movie is NOT for all audiences. The "R" rating was very well earned in this one; you'll be thinking about how seriously twisted the movie dares to go LONG after you leave.

If you are mature enough to get past the fact that this movie introduces themes that most movies nowadays are too hesitant to venture into, this movie is a beautiful and moving piece of art.

I, like maybe most everyone that went to see it, went off of the trailer that it was just another "going back in time to change the future" movie, which has been done before.

This one is COMPLETELY different.

The Butterfly Effect starts actually in the early stages of each character's life, which I think is effective. You don't really see Ashton Kutcher or Amy Smart until about 30 minutes into the movie, and just when you think the movie won't get any more sick and twisted... you figure out what's ACTUALLY going on during Evan's childhood blackouts.

Every character is built from the ground up, and they maintain true to the plot, even if their roles get switched up a bit.

Some might say that special effects weren't really needed for this movie, but its the special effects that make this all believable.

Every actor in this movie pulls off their parts just right (I feel sorry for the kid that plays Tommy.. I won't throw a spoiler - see it!), and they all come together to make a masterpiece. I was surprised this movie got so many bad reviews.

If you throw the fact that time-travel isn't possible, and that there will always be obvious plot holes in a movie such as this one, and are ready for an emotional roller coaster (you'll either cry or grimace about twice the amount of times you crack a smile), go see this beautiful movie.

Entertainment: 9.0/10

Overall score: 9.5/10

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153 out of 226 people found the following review useful:

One good turn....

7/10
Author: glamslamking1 from United States
7 February 2005

This movie received WAY too many bad reviews. The only reason was to PUNK Ashton Kutcher. Say what you will, Kutcher did a fair to midland acting job here. There have been a lot worse performances on film in much better reviewed movies. I tell you, you will NOT be disappointed watching the Director's cut Alternate ending. It is a story of how one action causes a series of reactions...no matter the intentions, be careful what you wish for. This film's biggest mistake was promoting it in the horror genre. It is NOT! It is a nice dark fantasy film, nothing more, nothing less. There are 2 different endings, with 2 different meanings for me. I preferred the Alternate ending in lieu of the Theatrical ending. A great "popcorn" movie. Don't believe the (bad)Hype!

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111 out of 154 people found the following review useful:

The critics really dropped the ball and turned a cold shoulder on a fine film here

9/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
6 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(note: this is a review of the director's cut of the film, which has a completely different ending than the theatrical release)

The Butterfly Effect was either ignored or ridiculed by most major critics. Most minor ones, too. In reality, while it has its flaws, and some rather big ones, too, it is one of the best films to be released so far in 2004. It is already being rediscovered by audiences, and I think it will find a home amongst the lovers of gimmick films such as Memento and Donnie Darko. I am a fan of all three of these films, and it's not because they're based on clever gimmicks. Plenty of films have clever gimmicks and completely fail. I like these three particular films because they're intelligent and have strong stories that move them beyond their central gimmicks. The Butterfly Effect is about a young man (Ashton Kutcher) who experienced severe blackouts during traumatic moments when he was a child. As an adult, he discovers that he can travel back to these forgotten events and change their outcome. Unfortunately, every time he changes things for what should be the better, some individual always gets the shaft. Besides himself, the major players in the story are his mother (Melora Walters), his girlfriend, Kayleigh, her brother, Tommy, and their friend, Lenny. The story is gripping. It's hard not to imagine situations in your own life that you'd want to change, so the appeal is universal. As Kutcher changes time and time again, he starts to lose grip of reality. His desperation grows deeper each time he changes the past.

The movie does lose its footing as it nears the finish. One can imagine how hard it must be to end a story like this. It looked as if they were going to go with the 'It's all just a dream' ending, which really p***ed me off. Then they cheated their gimmick a little, which, as annoying as that was, it wasn't as annoying as the previous option. Then came kind of an ugly ending which really angered me, and which upsets a lot of what happened in the film in the first place. After a bit of time thinking it over, though, it didn't seem quite as bad as it first did. There are still some major holes this way around, but it made sense thematically.

As for the technical feats, The Butterfly Effect is very well done. The writers/directors, Bress and Gruber, may not get everything right, but they have delivered an ambitious and thoughtful film. Better yet, they delivered it right to a multiplex audience who doubtless went in expecting escapism. What they'll get is something ten times more challenging than anything else they'll see this year. The look of it is good, it's well edited, and there's really good use of music and sound.

The final question has to be this: so, can Ashton Kutcher deliver a dramatic performance? The answer is yes, but not an unqualified yes. Truthfully, the protagonist of the story could have been improved. He's more of cypher than anything, and a lot of the emotional value comes from the side characters whose lives he effects. Kutcher isn't asked to do too much. Still, he holds his own in plenty of scenes. He was quite good, for instance, in the sequence where he goes to prison. I wonder if all the pans this film received came because it was a drama starring that goofball from Dude, Where's My Car? I think, in the long run, if Kutcher wants to become a dramatic actor, he could pull it off. He's a handsome guy with a lot of charm. 9/10.

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136 out of 207 people found the following review useful:

Keep you on the edge of your seat from the start to the finish

8/10
Author: Kc Brady from United Kingdom
15 February 2005

The film that was underrated. The film that only appeared on US cinemas. The Butterfly Effect.

I think Ashton Kutcher did a good job on this film, along with Andrea Treborn. I recall that Kutcher has never made a film like this, and his first thriller was somewhat peculiar. Not just any old thriller, this one would keep you on the edge of your seat from the start to the finish. A weird title however, but the tag line explains all. Change one thing, change everything. I think this automatically gets you thinking, and as the film proceeds, it gets harder. You like thinking? Get this film, because you will not want to miss it!

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