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The Butterfly Effect (2004)



Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 167
Fresh: 55 | Rotten: 112

The premise is intriguing, but it's placed in the service of an overwrought and tasteless thriller.


Average Rating: 3.6/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 30

The premise is intriguing, but it's placed in the service of an overwrought and tasteless thriller.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 620,393

My Rating

Movie Info

Final Destination 2 screenwriters Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber make their directorial debut with the sci-fi thriller The Butterfly Effect. Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher with facial hair) wants to free himself from his disturbing childhood memories. As a kid, he often blacked out for long periods of time and tried to detail his life in a journal. As a young adult, he revisits the journal entries to figure out the truth about his troubled childhood friends Kayleigh (Amy Smart), Lenny (Elden

Jul 20, 2007


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All Critics (178) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (55) | Rotten (112) | DVD (27)

Nothing can save this repetitive bore. Dude, where's your memory?

January 29, 2004
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not one second of this bilge makes a lick of sense.

January 29, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer | Comments (2)
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kutcher is the wrong actor to anchor a psychological freak-out.

January 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's one of the most unpleasant Hollywood films in some time.

January 24, 2004 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A flawed but serviceable thriller.

January 23, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sloppily conceived and clunkily paced, the movie goes from improbable to preposterous within its first few minutes; over the next two hours the filmmakers never miss a chance for some gratuitous piece of sadism, sexuality or sleaze.

January 23, 2004 | Comments (2)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. So very bad.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Tries hard to be affecting and mind-blowing, and sometimes it comes close.

January 31, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

More like "The Gag Reflex."

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine) | Comments (4)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

this is exactly the sort of movie I like to see.

January 16, 2005 Full Review Source: | Comments (4)

Assez bien dans l'ensemble, mais la fascinante prémise n'est jamais vraiment exploité à sa hauteur.

December 16, 2004

Despite a fairly upbeat ending, the ugly images dominate the film with the time/reality plot a bloody nose afterthought.

October 14, 2004 Full Review

Cool theories...don't necessarily guarantee good stories...[even if Ashton Kutcher] is repeatedly punk'd by the space-time continuum.

September 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Style Weekly (Richmond, VA)

Walks a super-thin line between horrific believability and hilarious unbelievability.

August 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

One of the most thoughtful films of 2004.

July 16, 2004 | Comments (3)

Dumb fun, thy name is Ashton.

July 5, 2004

Pena que a dupla de roteiristas não pôde realizar façanha semelhante à do herói e voltar no tempo a fim de rever suas decisões: o último ato do filme merecia uma nova chance.

June 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Una vez que creemos que el viaje es posible, podemos pasar a disfrutar por completo las secuencias.

June 7, 2004 | Comment (1)

If you want plot twists and mind-bending, just stick to 'The Usual Suspects' and 'Memento'

May 10, 2004 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

a true original - and while it quite possibly contains as many holes as its protagonist's memory, half the fun is finding your way through them.

April 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Gazette

Lobotomised entertainment that's dark, violent, and hilariously dumb.

April 13, 2004 Full Review Source: BBC

An exercise in ponderous gloom and doom.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

Scary and disturbing, but also somewhat simple-minded and repetitive.

March 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

The Butterfly Effect isn't Citizen Kane, but it is far and away the best teen film that I've seen since Ghostworld... Kutcher or not.

March 3, 2004 Full Review Source:

It's quite surprising, I would imagine, to find that one can go back in time, unusual enough almost to require an explanation in the film. These filmmakers see it differently.

February 25, 2004 Full Review Source: F5 (Wichita, KS)

Kutcher brings a necessary lightness to his role as the guy who seems to make things happen around him, but doesn't want to.

February 24, 2004 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Butterfly Effect

October 21, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Built on one laughable implausibility after another this is a dark work that begs the recycle container ... but go along with what's unbelievable for a minute and after a minute you get a serviceable visit to the twilight zone, one where Kutcher's not a bad actor. And this is a serviceable sci-fi.
November 3, 2012

Super Reviewer

A college student discovers he can go back in time and alter past events, but every change he makes brings about tragic unintended consequences in the new present. Pretty much "DONNIE DARKO for Dummies."
September 12, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

A boy suffering from memory lapses is diagnosed with a hereditary mental illness but later in life learns he is capable of revisiting previous moments in his life. A variant on the whole wish fulfillment concept we've all thought about where you imagine going back to a point in your own life and try to change things for the better, this hokey sci-fi involves the ever perfectly coiffed Ashton Kutcher revisiting his past with various disastrous consequences. I feared the worst as the beginning of the film was very soapy and teen-friendly, but as the tone darkens it gets progressively more interesting. Some of the character development (if you can call it that; Kutcher's personality undergoes drastic rewrites at regular intervals) can be a little difficult to swallow and it's very episodic, but if you're willing to accept some flaws in logic it's actually quite a decent little diversion. Considering it's essentially a vehicle for a teen heart throb The Butterfly Effect is surprisingly inventive and entertaining.
April 17, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Evan Treborn: I've already lost you once, I'm not gonna lose you again.
    – Submitted by Justin C (16 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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