The Butterfly Effect

release year: 2004
genre: weird drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/18/04

synopsis: A kid with strange blackouts also has a deeply troubled past; while in college, he finds that he has the power to travel back to key points in his life and change what happened...but it proves to be more of a curse than a blessing.

impressions: Weird but engaging. The guy has this power (apparently hereditary) and once he loses the girl he loves, he tries to make things right by "fixing" one terrible thing that went wrong. It works, and everything seems great at first, but then he realizes that by changing one thing, he also changed another thing, and this alternate (?) reality ends badly. So he goes back again and changes the next bad thing that happened - but this only makes things worse. As I said, it's weird - and often disturbing - but it's powerful and kind of hard to stop watching.

things to watch for: Let me instead caution you - there are some parts of this movie that are tough to watch.

something this movie has that no other movie has: the sudden appearance of a gravestone with this reviewer's name on it! (coincidence, I know, but during a strange movie it was really unsettling)

acting: Ashton Kutcher does a good job as a disturbed kid with an amazing (and terrible) ability. Really, there are 12 main actors in this: the four kids, at three different ages in their lives. Eric Stoltz is effective as a monstrous, abusive father. Melora Walters is Ashton's mother, and her role is crucial to understanding what's going on.

final word: Strange and disturbing, with the payoff that if you pay attention, it will make you think for days afterward.

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