The Butterfly Effect (7/10 Rating)
Released January 23, 2004
For rent/purchase on all major platforms.
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
R: Violence, Sexual Content, Language, and Brief Drug Use
The Butterfly Effect blew my mind when I saw it twenty years ago. It was a wild ride and an interesting take on time travel and the effect changing small events might have on the present or future. I remembered it being somewhat dark, but I think the plot twists and concepts left me with a memorable experience and a film I would recommend. However, watching this film again, remembering most of the gimmicks and plots, leaves behind a very dark movie. The first thirty minutes is just childhood trauma event after childhood trauma event. Then it just gets more and more painful to watch. Without the excitement of unknowns, this film is a downer…but it’s also thought-provoking and will get into your head, so if you enjoy a thriller with some sci-fi aspects of time travel, then give it a watch. Just don’t expect to be in a great mood when the credits roll. At least the ending cleans up the mess somewhat, with a bit of hope. Be warned, there are some intense moments that may trigger real-life prior trauma for some. Ashton Kutcher basically has to carry the weight of this movie and he does surprisingly well in the lead role. The child actors are okay once you settle in. The remaining adult cast compliments Kutcher’s performance. There is an alternate ending you can find online and on some special features that really ices the cake on this depression-inducing ride. There are usually a few more laughs thrown in to balance out a film like this, but this one truly is not very fun. Unfortunately, a lot of the terror comes from realistic events many have had to endure. Without spoiling too much, one example of the dark subject matter in this film involves a father with his video camera. You don’t want to be right about where it is headed, but you will be. It’s mostly an uncomfortable movie to sit through, but maybe that’s the escape you are into. I certainly was twenty years ago. It’s a well-done film with plenty of flaws and plot holes, but if you don’t mind something like Requiem for a Dream, you should check this one out. If you need a palate cleanser, check out Along Came Polly for a laugh out loud comedy.
Also released in January 2004: Along Came Polly, Chasing Liberty, My Baby’s Daddy, Torque, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, The Perfect Score, You Got Served (follow @jlucia85 for these reviews and more)