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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but unbearably sad
This is an extremely clever, moving and well acted film, and a good antidote to the type of film in which changing the past is made to appear relatively straightforward. But it packs a major sting in the tail and is not one to watch if you want to be cheered up.

The title "The Butterfly effect" is a reference to the behaviour of sensitive systems under chaos...
Published on 8 Jun. 2007 by Marshall Lord

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ditch the beard, find happiness
**CONTAINS ALTERNATIVE ENDING SPOILERS**

Evan, played by Ashton Kutcher, goes through childhood experiencing strange black outs, and is advised to keep a journal. When he is older he realises he can "go back in time" to those occasions just by reading those parts of his journal. He deliberately chooses to go back to pivotal moments so that he can try and adjust...
Published 21 months ago by Four Violets


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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but unbearably sad, 8 Jun. 2007
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is an extremely clever, moving and well acted film, and a good antidote to the type of film in which changing the past is made to appear relatively straightforward. But it packs a major sting in the tail and is not one to watch if you want to be cheered up.

The title "The Butterfly effect" is a reference to the behaviour of sensitive systems under chaos theory, and the film starts with the famous quote about how the flap of a butterfly's wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world six months later. The film could almost have been subtitled "Or: The Law of Unintended Consequences."

The central character is Evan, a boy whose father and grandfather died in mental hospitals and who appears to have inherited a strange condition from them. Evan is portrayed brilliantly as a young adult by Ashton Kutcher, as a 7-year old by Logan Lerman, and as a teenager by John Patrick Amedori.

As a boy Evan has blackouts at times of extreme stress when he does things which can be very strange and scary, and then has no memory of them. To try to help with this, his mother (Melora Walters) encourages him to keep a daily journal.

Evan grows up to become a brilliant student, and then discovers than by reading his diaries and concentrating he can send his consciousness, including his adult memories, back to the time he was reading about. Then he realises that he can try to change the past.

After the suicide of his childhood friend Kayleigh (played as an adult by Amy Smart) Evan sends his mind back to a traumatic childhood event, which he correctly identifies as the start of the process which put Kayleigh on the path to despair and premature death. At first it appears that he has succeeded in transforming her life for the better - but then a side effect of his actions causes something else to go horribly wrong.

Each time Evan tries to go back to undo either one of the original life-wrecking mistakes which he or someone else had made, or the harmful results of his previous meddling, the butterfly effect - and the law of unintended consequences - means that a fresh disaster occurs. Evan does sometimes succeed in saving someone's life or happiness, but only at the price of devastating repercussions for another person.

All three actors who play Evan bring him to life brilliantly, and the acting of the rest of the cast is also excellent. Direction, action and special events are first rate and the pace works very well. There is inevitably a lot of repetition of certain key events in Evan's life as he goes through them again and again, but it doesn't make the film boring because you're looking out for the changes or the explanation. And this film is much more plausible and grown-up than most time-travel movies. But it really does deliver a kick at the end.

There was a "sequel" made a couple of years later called "The Butterfly effect 2" with a different cast of characters, and in which the central character has a similar condition to Evan. However, everyone I know who has watched them both says that the sequel is not nearly as good.

Some great extras on the disc, particularly to sequences in which academics and film makers are interviewed about Chaos theory and about why we are fascinated by time travel stories.

I can strongly recommend this as long as you're not looking for something sweet and cheerful.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterfly Effect, 29 July 2004
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Despite mixed reviews prior to seeing this, I thought this film was an absolute gem. The cast were well introduced at the start and you were led thru the film with mysterious gaps which were filled later on, shocking the audience at times. Subject matter was occasionally difficult but this made it all the more believeable in our hero's responses. Anything that offers a temporal paradox allows the mind to fulfil the 'whatif' question. It gets you thinking but this movie was difficult to 2nd guess which in my view makes for a great and unpredictable film rather than one where I'm climbing the walls waiting for it to end so I can get on with my life. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We're all in the same time zone here"., 24 Nov. 2011
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
Young Evan is a cause for concern, finding himself involved with violent happenings and seemingly entering altered states of mind where he has on control of his actions. With gaps in his memory occurring more frequently his mother hopes that he hasn't inherited his father's mental illness. A series of traumatising events in his childhood make a convincing case for it all being stress related. The film follows Evan during several stages of his life, pre-teen, teen, and student - the latter being a time of celebration as it's been 7 years since his last blackout, but now he's experiencing suppressed memories, filling in the blanks, or so it seems...

Butterfly effect explores how having the ability to go back into your past and influence your actions has major repercussions as the life you knew from that point onward never existed - slight changes in Evan's past mean that the entire course of his life has changed, a different house, a different girlfriend, different friends - but going back and doing the right thing doesn't guarantee a happy ending or that you'll be a better person in the future. There's a 'Quantum Leap' element to this as Evan finds himself correcting injustices more for a sense of correcting the inequity of life rather than personal gain but it doesn't always go to plan, every change which results in a different set of circumstances simply means that life produces different victims, and he always feels responsible because he knows that their situation was caused as a direct result of the pivotal moment that he orchestrated.

As a science fiction film this works pretty well and straddles three distinct time periods with the ripple effect having most impact on his student years as they diverge furthest from the point of change, but this is conveniently bypassed when after a 'travel' back in time to give himself stigmata style scars, he returns to the exact same point in time to continue the same conversation! There are times when the film ventures into cheesy, teen romance mode but the darker elements help to ensure that the film maintains a serious tone which prevents breaking the tension. One of the strengths of the Butterfly Effect is seeing the gaps from the start being revisited and filled in, it neatly resolves unanswered questions and makes this a satisfying watch. Aston Kutcher gives a passable performance but during moments of heightened tension he doesn't really convince, the rest of the cast are strong though and find themselves playing very different characters depending on which version of their future they are portraying.

This DVD contains some interesting bonus features and not just ones specific to the film, documentaries about chaos theory proved quite interesting though the most sought after material will be the alternate endings. Both theatrical and Director's cut conclusions are quite powerful though the Director's cut ending is more shocking with the theatrical cut bitter-sweet - either way, both are satisfactory and neither fall down the trap of a schmaltzy, happy Hollywood ending. The Director's cut of the film is my preferred version - though I actually prefer the theatrical ending, the sacrifice is perhaps smaller - but more poignant, I don't want to give anything away though.

In a nutshell: Equal parts of Sci-Fi and the Supernatural result in a film which certainly isn't perfect but is clever enough to entertain and engage. It sometimes seems that the film is trying to descend into a bland romantic drama, but powerful imagery and the more cerebral parts of the film rescue it. I was expecting this to be fairly average but was surprised at how thought-provoking it revealed itself to be.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, 15 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
The Butterfly Effect most certainly caught me off guard,here i was replete with snobbish indifference{it stars Ashton Demi Kutcher} expecting some moronic supernatural bag of air but instead viewed a thematically profound,expertly written close to masterpiece movie.Gosh.
I am not going to pontificate about the meaning of the butterfly effect,i will leave that to the rather more elequoent reviewers.The conceit of this movie of one's place and actions in life is ingenious,exploring different ways in which events can transpire thus almost giving the viewer 3 films in one.Hey....i am always up for a bargain in these times of debt.
This is one of those rarities of a Hollwood movie with admirable motivations,a story that aims for the heart rather then the wallet.Definetly an example of a studio taking a risk,film makers being brave....
There is a real tangible emotional landscape to this movie,the actors are top notch veering physically,emotionally through different realities.Issue wise you have incest,abuse,regret,love,hate...beautifully poignant stuff that we go through as people.Stuff we live,stuff we suffer...you know stuff...baggage.
Butterfly Effect is pardon the cliche a rollercoaster of a movie and if you have not viewed it get in,ponder.
Beautiful,thought provoking mainstream cinema.
How often can you say that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ditch the beard, find happiness, 27 Aug. 2013
By 
Four Violets (Hertford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
**CONTAINS ALTERNATIVE ENDING SPOILERS**

Evan, played by Ashton Kutcher, goes through childhood experiencing strange black outs, and is advised to keep a journal. When he is older he realises he can "go back in time" to those occasions just by reading those parts of his journal. He deliberately chooses to go back to pivotal moments so that he can try and adjust the future - for his troubled friend Kayleigh (Amy Smart) in particular.

So far so "believable" - so far as a film goes. I was happy enough to "believe" in Groundhog Day, Big, and The Time Travellers Wife etc.

What made me so uncomfortable watching The Butterfly Effect was firstly: the unpleasant violence and aggression. Lenny, Kayleigh's brother, is a caricature of a young psychopath - I found it impossible to believe he wouldn't have been institutionalised. The creepy rapist guys in prison (surely lifted straight out of The Shawshank Redemption), the fat miserable kid, the doc in the white coat, the girl next door - they are all comic strip characters, and I couldn't believe in any of them for a moment. As for Ashton, I don't know if it was because of his strange stick-on looking beard, but I failed to understand a word he was saying, he mumbled so much.

Second sticking point: I thought the acting of the entire cast was pretty dire, although Amy Smart made a valiant effort as did the ever reliable Eric Stoltz as the abusive father of Lenny and Kayleigh.

Only the fact I had paid for the DVD, and occasional flashes of black humour, kept me watching to the end. Then I discover I have been watching the Director's Cut, and curiosity takes me to wiki to find out the alternative endings (as they are NOT all on "deleted scenes"). Here's one: after realising Kayleigh stayed with her abusive father to be near him, Evan deliberately alienates her so that she moves to live with her mother and therefore has a happy future for herself and brother. The other endings (as "deleted scenes") are just Evan and Kayleigh meeting when passing in street.

Minus stick-on beard, obviously vastly improving his chances of happiness.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the ending???, 9 Nov. 2004
I have purchased this film and seen the original version in the cinema. Part of the DVD extras is a set of alternative ednings to this film, of which - the original ending isn't one of them!!! In the uk we saw a different cut of the film then our american counterparts... but alas this ending(and i might add the best of all the alternatives offered) is nowhere to be seen. It's a shame, as this is an outstanding film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite A Wonderful Life, 30 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
How the life and actions of one man affects so many, it's a good point but one that was already made so eloquently in `Its A Wonderful Life', unfortunately this film missed the boat by about 70 years.
Although enjoyable to watch once this film jumps around far too much to hold your attention fully, particularly at the start when only the few main events are shown. In order for it to work to its full potential it would need to be at least an hour longer in order for some character building in between the poignant moments when the cast are young.
As the film goes on it does become a little more in depth but without giving too much away a lot of the actions of Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) are hard to justify. Most notably the order in which he decides to change certain things, and if he does mess a certain part up why doesn't he just go back to the same bit and try again instead of trying to change a different part of history. Never the less if you can ignore all of the cracks and go in to watching this film without expecting anything too life changing to occur (you shouldn't anyway it's Ashton Kutcher!) you're sure to enjoy. A difficult storyline made almost believable by some good (if not great) acting, and if I could change history would I still watch this film? Probably, but no more than once.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where are the roots of evil in this world? Always where you expect them the least..., 3 May 2007
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
Well, this is certainly not your average movie for a Friday evening date. "The butterfly effect" is a dark, difficult and very shocking film, full of sadness and suffering. DO NOT BELIEVE the regular press reviews! Watch it and make up your mind. You can love it (like me) or hate it, but believe me you will not be bored - and you will NOT forget it easily.

I find it rather hard to believe that somebody dared to make not one but two sequels of this film! "Butterfly effect" is THE movie with conclusion. It goes full circle and ends the story without any ambiguity. This is probably one of the reasons that both sequels were so bad.

This movie is mostly a one boy/one girl show. Ashton Kutcher may not be the greatest of actors, but in this film he is very good! And I really would like to see Amy Smart in more movies - why isn't she playing more? She is so beautiful and talented! Other actors are quite unknown, but still they perform well in supporting the two main protagonists.

I will not reveal anything about the plot, except that at the end you will be surprised, shocked and HURT - and you will find the exact and clear answer to the question which is the title of this review...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every action has a positive and negative reaction., 8 Jan. 2012
By 
Mr. J. Ryden (In your mind, in the part you've forgotten about.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
Ashton Kutcher, what, that's the guy off that series of unfunny rom-coms, right, and Punk'd cr*p, right? In some ways, it's the fact that this film goes against type which makes it so special.

In terms of the films itself, it's no different to, say, Twelve Monkeys or Donnie Darko ie changing the past to alter the future although it does occupy a sphere of its own.

Amy Smart (a relative unknown to me) performs admirably as Kutcher's childhood would-be-sweetheart, emotionally scarred at the hands of her sociopathic brother and deviant father (a potentially career-damaging role for Eric Stoltz there). The basic premise of the film is Kutcher's attempts to manipulate the past by changing one aspect in the hope of creating a better future for Smart's character.

There is lots of jumping backwards and forwards in time as Kutcher realises the power he has, all to no avail. In fact, I think that's one of the film's greatest achievements insomuch that there can be no happy endings, the future has already been writ.

Suffice it to say, the Directors Cut is the one to watch for the ending alone.

All in all, a great film which deserves more acclaim.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film about how events influence our lives., 20 Jan. 2014
By 
David H J Ashdown (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent film about the butterfly effect that states that a butterfly beating its wings somewhere can cause a hurricane elsewhere. Although this film is not strictly about the butterfly effect it is a good enough analogy to make the title plausible. It is a tale about four children whose actions in childhood dramatically affect their future lives and Evan finds later as an adult that under extreme stress he is able to return to that time and try to alter what happens. The resulting scenarios turn out to be very unpredictable and he's forced to return many times to make things better in the future. A film that opens up the possibility of parallel universes and the probability that every outcome is occurring , you just have to be able to hop from one to the other. If you haven't watched it you're in for a treat when you do.
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The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD]
The Butterfly Effect - Director's Cut [DVD] by J. Mackye Gruber (DVD - 2007)
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