Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jun 16, 2011
    78
    So much here is equally befuddling and beguiling; I caught myself leaning in toward the screen repeatedly, trying to somehow get closer to the gorgeous impenetrability of the story, of the boy.
  2. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Jun 16, 2011
    63
    The debut feature from 26-year-old director Richard Kelly shows plenty of promise, but it's somewhat self-involved and won't appeal to audiences who like a straightforward -- even if fantastical -- narrative.
  3. Reviewed by: Lisa Alspector
    Jun 16, 2011
    80
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 16, 2011
    63
    Donnie Darko is the one that got away. But it was fun trying to land it.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Jun 16, 2011
    38
    Just another self-absorbed teen chronicle, with the added twist of a little time travel and a surprise ending.
  6. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jun 16, 2011
    91
    Kelly, the 26-year-old writer-director of this excitingly original indie vision, shares more artistically with Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson than he does with Spielberg or John Hughes, but the point is, he's out on his own here. He swings big -- with flair.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Gore
    Jun 16, 2011
    40
    This is really one of those Rorschach test films. You either love it or hate it. For those who loved it, I have only one word: overrated.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Donnelly
    Jun 16, 2011
    90
    It is funny, sad and beautiful. And it's right on time.
  9. Reviewed by: Jan Stuart
    Jun 16, 2011
    80
    If you let it be what it is, Donnie Darko will knock you flat.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Jun 16, 2011
    80
    The nerviest, oddest, most outlandish and idiosyncratic American indie debut since "Buffalo 66," Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko defies description.
  11. Reviewed by: Jean Oppenheimer
    Jun 16, 2011
    100
    Like gathering storm clouds, Donnie Darko creates an atmosphere of eerie calm and mounting menace -- stands as one of the most exceptional movies of 2001.
  12. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jun 16, 2011
    60
    The flaws are more than balanced out by the risks the earnest Kelly encourages his excellent cast to take.
  13. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jun 16, 2011
    75
    Most experienced filmmakers wouldn't even attempt a film that's so blackly funny, that so rapidly shifts genres and tone, and that layers late '80s cultural references so thickly, from "E.T." to Smurfs.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 16, 2011
    80
    A stunning technical accomplishment that virtually bursts with noise, ideas and references, but it's fundamentally a gracefully crafted movie that's about human beings and not images.
  15. Reviewed by: Bob Graham
    Jun 16, 2011
    50
    If this movie ever figured out what it wanted to be when it grows up, it would be a terrific one.
  16. Reviewed by: Paula Nechak
    Jun 16, 2011
    75
    Its only constant is that it's strangely eloquent and quite original.
  17. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 16, 2011
    40
    It's this compulsion to solder melancholy to weightlessness that constantly trips up the movie; Mr. Kelly doesn't have the assurance to pull off such a difficult feat.
  18. Reviewed by: Maitland McDonagh
    Jun 16, 2011
    88
    David Lynch lite.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jun 16, 2011
    70
    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.
  20. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Jun 16, 2011
    70
    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.
  21. Reviewed by: Desson Thomson
    Jun 16, 2011
    88
    Appealingly, the movie has a certain lightness -- like the aforementioned butterfly -- which makes its foreboding qualities surprisingly user-friendly.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Feb 14, 2012
    6
    It's full of inspiration and ideas, but "Donnie Darko" doesn't quite get the order right.
  2. Dec 2, 2012
    10
    A mixture of horror, drama, psychological thriller, comedy,and brief action make this a must see movie especially with movie stars that areA mixture of horror, drama, psychological thriller, comedy,and brief action make this a must see movie especially with movie stars that are randomly famous appearing here and there.
    A+
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 20, 2012
    10
    I thought this movie was a masterpiece. I loved every minute of it. I'm definitely going to have to rewatch it. I was slightly disappointedI thought this movie was a masterpiece. I loved every minute of it. I'm definitely going to have to rewatch it. I was slightly disappointed about the ending because I didn't quite "get" it but it didn't negatively impact it for me. I know some endings can ruin entire movies/video games. I loved Frank. I don't have much to complain about so I think a 10 is in order here. Why this movie isn't a financial success is beyond me. I think this movie needs a rerelease to theaters with some advertising. Full Review »