The Butterfly Effect (2004)★★★★☆


There’s a lot I like about this movie. It’s got Amy Smart and Ethan Suplee, for one (or two). And Ashton Kutcher is actually pretty good in it as well. Oh! And I’d forgotten Cameron Bright is in this – a small but important role he plays adeptly.

And the story is extremely compelling. I mean, what would you do if you had the ability to alter your past? To answer some of those “what if"s I know I’ve asked myself throughout the years? Would you take that chance? Would you be able to resist?

Of course, what happens is about what you’d expect to happen – the butterfly theory. This movie is just a series of experiments proving that you can’t make one small change without affecting anything else.

It helps that the characters are compelling and the acting is believable, of course. The background music threatens at times to become overbearing but never quite crosses that line. There are a few too many artsy camera effect moments for my taste but they don’t distract too much from the story.

The mechanics of this ability definitely raise some questions, though. It seems inconsistent to me which memories he keeps/loses/gains whenever something changes. Maybe someone else followed that better than I did and can explain it to me.

Also, the timeline gets a bit hard to follow – I imagine that’s why they had to make the different time periods so distinct with different actors playing the four (Evan, Tommy, Lenny, and Kayleigh) for each era.

Overall, though, it’s well paced and will keep you hooked throughout. I find this subject matter fascinating in general, so I may be biased, but I’d recommend this one pretty broadly. There are definitely some creepy and disturbing moments, but it’s not too gory or graphic and should have pretty broad appeal.

And oh man, the soundtrack to this movie takes me back. I think I’m going to fall asleep to old Jimmy Eat World albums tonight.