Donnie Darko


Donnie Darko

Critics Consensus

Richard Kelly's debut feature Donnie Darko is a daring, original vision, packed with jarring ideas and intelligence and featuring a remarkable performance from Jake Gyllenhaal as the troubled title character.



Total Count: 115


Audience Score

User Ratings: 30,984,568
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Movie Info

Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side; he does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers and enjoys challenging the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see who often urges him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks. Late one night, Frank leads Donnie out of his home to inform him that the world will come to an end in less than a month; moments later, the engine of a jet aircraft comes crashing through the ceiling of Donnie's room, making him think there might be something to Frank's prophesies after all. The rest of Donnie's world is only marginally less bizarre, as he finds himself dealing with his confused parents (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne), his college-age sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his perplexed analyst (Katherine Ross), a rebellious English teacher (Drew Barrymore), a sleazy self-help expert (Patrick Swayze), and the new girl at school who is attracted by Donnie's quirks (Jena Malone). Donnie Darko was the first feature film from writer and director Richard Kelly; Drew Barrymore, who plays teacher Karen Pomeroy, also lent her support to the project as executive producer. A director's cut played in select theaters on a limited basis in the summer of 2004, featuring original music cues and trimmed scenes originally in Kelly's first cut of the film. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Jena Malone
as Gretchen
Katharine Ross
as Dr. Thurman
Noah Wyle
as Prof. Monnitoff
Daveigh Chase
as Samantha
James Duval
as Frank/`The Rabbit'
Arthur Taxier
as Dr. Fisher
Mark Hoffman
as Police Officer
David St. James
as Bob Garland
Tom Tangen
as Man in Red Jogging Suit
Jazzie Mahannah
as Joanie James
Jolene Purdy
as Cherita Chen
Seth Rogen
as Ricky Danforth
David Moreland
as Principal Cole
Kristina Malota
as Susie Bates
Marina Malota
as Emily Bates
Carly Naples
as Suzy Bailey
Tiler Peck
as Beth Farmer
Patience Cleveland
as Roberta Sparrow/ Grandma Death
Lisa K. Wyatt
as Lina Connie
Rachel Winfree
as Shanda Riesman
Jack Salvatore Jr.
as Larry Riesman
Phyllis Lyons
as Anne Fisher
Ashley Tisdale
as Dorky Girl
Alison Jones
as Dorky Sister
Jerry Trainor
as Lanky Kid
Joan Blair
as Mystery Woman
Fran Kranz
as Passenger
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News & Interviews for Donnie Darko

Critic Reviews for Donnie Darko

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (15)

  • Kelly is a supple and courageous storyteller, boldly free-associating as he mixes parody and satire with earnest psychodrama and coming up with plot points no one could anticipate.

    Jun 8, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Donnie Darko has plenty of problems. But most stem from a young filmmaker overswinging on his first time up to the plate and hitting a deep fly out rather than a home run.

    Jun 8, 2007

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • Excitingly original indie vision.

    Nov 6, 2001 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • A stunning technical accomplishment that virtually bursts with noise, ideas and references.

    Oct 31, 2001
  • First-time director-writer Richard Kelly draws on a number of intriguing elements ... without including a single, crucial gem that pulls everything together.

    Oct 26, 2001
  • If this movie ever figured out what it wanted to be when it grows up, it would be a terrific one.

    Oct 26, 2001 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Donnie Darko

  • Sep 23, 2016
    A great chilling piece of psychologically thrilling cinema
    Kameron W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 11, 2016
    Donnie Darko is an inventive cult classic. It's concept is smart and Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a great performance, however, not all aspects of the story really mesh together. Darko deals with time travel, the apocalypse, and death in a cold and clinical way. There is no doubt that even when I was scratching my head at how the feature wrapped up, I couldn't deny the thought provoking themes delivered with such daring. So while Donnie Darko is a hard movie to embrace, it is also a difficult movie to shake off and has earned its status as a cult classic. Rating: 66
    Bradley J Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2016
    It's hard to review this movie after only one viewing because Donnie Darko seems like the type of film that improves with repeat viewings. That being said, the plot can seem a bit confusing at times, but the acting, especially by Jake Gyllenhaal, carries the load of this cult classic. If you haven't seen this movie, you're doing yourself a disservice!
    Ben B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 17, 2015
    Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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