The Butterfly Effect (15)

Starring Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz


Ashton Kutcher (among others) stars as Evan Treborn, wandering through a troubled childhood plagued by black outs and into the adulthood struggle to regain those memories. But the more he remembers the more he wants to change the past and alter the broken lives of his three childhood friends, including Kayleigh, the girl he will always be in love with, no matter how much he changes time.

And Evan does change time. But going back in time, to change the tiniest moments in the lives of his friends and himself, causes irreparable damage to their world in turn. Evan battles with the different realities he creates as well as with those who believe him to be going crazy like his father before him. But try as he might he cannot create a happily ever after version for Kayleigh and himself.


Traumatising and disquieting, this film delves into the desire to undo past wrongs and help those we feel responsible for. Directed and written by the team who wrote Final Destination 2, The Butterfly Effect almost settles in the genre of horror for those of a weak disposition like myself. There are moments of mind numbing terror as the horrors human beings can inflict on each other, even as children, are brought to light. The actors show amazing versatility in their varying roles within the different realities, particularly William Lee Scott and Amy Smart as sister and brother Kayleigh and Tommy. There are comedic moments, but few and far between as this is a film firmly rooted in the dark underbelly of human nature.

I found the story deeply disturbing; but as an amazingly produced, clever and thoughtful portrayal of a serious kind of science fiction it is a film to be reckoned with…in the recesses of one’s soul after the shock and suspense tension have worn away.


Most people have heard of the butterfly effect theory of chaos and most people find this sort of phenomenon interesting to discuss. There is something about the notions of predetermination and fate that have always fascinated the human race. However, this film I feel does not really justify this title; it is only loosely, in my mind, connected to the problems of deterministic chaos. What it really concerns is a sort of personal time travel and the struggle to do right…which maybe should be a topic even closer to our hearts than the human fascination with chaos.


“There is no such thing as chance, only patterns we do not understand.”

Harlan Ellison, The Butterfly Effect official website


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