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The Butterfly Effect (2004)

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Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during 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 by reading his journal.
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225 ( 256)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashton Kutcher ... Evan
Melora Walters ... Andrea
Amy Smart ... Kayleigh
Elden Henson ... Lenny
William Lee Scott ... Tommy
John Patrick Amedori ... Evan at 13
Irina Gorovaia ... Kayleigh at 13 (as Irene Gorovaia)
Kevin G. Schmidt ... Lenny at 13
Jesse James ... Tommy at 13
Logan Lerman ... Evan at 7
Sarah Widdows Sarah Widdows ... Kayleigh at 7
Jake Kaese Jake Kaese ... Lenny at 7
Cameron Bright ... Tommy at 7
Eric Stoltz ... Mr. Miller
Callum Keith Rennie ... Jason
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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:

Change one thing, Change everything. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El efecto mariposa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,065,227, 25 January 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$57,938,693

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,122,165
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Evan's diaries have the same cover layout as the diaries of John Doe in Se7en (1995), also released by New Line Cinema. They are standard composition notebooks that are used by school children across the country every day. See more »

Goofs

When Evan, Kayleigh, Tommy and Lenny go to the cinema to watch Se7en, they walk past a freeze at the concession stand which bares the 1998 Pepsi logo. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut contains a few new scenes:
  • Evan discovering that his grandfather had the same gift, and also was considered crazy, like his father
  • Evan and Andrea go to a palm reader that tells Evan he has no lifeline
  • Andrea telling Evan she was pregnant twice before he was born.
  • A scene in the prison where the prisoners publicly read Evan's journals.
  • A scene in the prison where the other prisoners come to rape Evan one night.
  • An extended hospital scene where Evan is visiting sick Andrea.
  • An alternate ending.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Shameful Sequels: The Butterfly Effect 2 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

My Elastic Eye
Written by Tom Rowlands, Ed Simons and Bernard Estardy
Performed by The Chemical Brothers
Courtesy of Virgin Astralwerks Records
Under license from EMI & TV Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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 saarvardiSee 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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