Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 186 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A genre-busting fable that blasts the American suburban drama into a wildly imaginative realm of time travel, alternative universes and the manipulation of one's fate. (IFC Films)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Jean Oppenheimer
    Jun 16, 2011
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Donnelly
    Jun 16, 2011
    It is funny, sad and beautiful. And it's right on time.
  3. Reviewed by: Desson Thomson
    Jun 16, 2011
    Appealingly, the movie has a certain lightness -- like the aforementioned butterfly -- which makes its foreboding qualities surprisingly user-friendly.
  4. Reviewed by: Paula Nechak
    Jun 16, 2011
    Its only constant is that it's strangely eloquent and quite original.
  5. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Jun 16, 2011
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 16, 2011
    Donnie Darko is the one that got away. But it was fun trying to land it.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Jun 16, 2011
    Just another self-absorbed teen chronicle, with the added twist of a little time travel and a surprise ending.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Jul 16, 2014
    Donnie Darko can't really really be summarised, it's too unique. However, it is possible to list all of the things it achieves in it's 2 hour run time. It's funny without losing it's grim tone, it's a physiological thriller that blends themes of time travel and isolation into a coherent plot, and it is an drama so well portrayed that even the most illogical components of this tale are believable in its world.
    The main character, Donnie, is a teenager with schizophrenia who is met by a human wearing a demonic-rabbit Halloween costume. This rabbit tells him that the world is too end in 28 days, due to a part of the world that Donnie was closest to collapsing. Donnie is the only one that can save the universe, as he was the primary receiver to the event that is threatening to destroy the universe. I won't say what the event is as it would partially ruin its unravelling throughout the film. This sets up what is to be a fascinatingly complex thriller.
    Donnie's character is an mysterious oddity for much of the film, yet he still manages to be sympathetic enough for you to side with him in this mind bending story. 'Darko' deals with very advanced subject matter without being up its own arse, as well as dealing with ideas of remoteness and even young love without becoming preachy.
    It will leave you saddened yet satisfied, as the ending is so well wrapped up. Everything about this film is wonderful. This may sound cliché, but it remains a must see, even 13 years on from its release.
  2. Nov 12, 2012
    It requires and demands multiple viewings. That; however, is not a problem, considering it's compulsively watchable, and you'll catch on to new ideas every time you watch. Expand
  3. Dec 2, 2012
    A 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.
  4. Oct 29, 2013
    A little mix of everything, but really, at the end of the day, this is a stone cold psychological thriller that enjoys messing with your mind. It's engrossing, terrifying, and will leave you wondering what the heck you judge watched; everything a psychological thriller should be. Jake Gyllenhaal shines in the lead role and all of the other actors also do marvelous jobs. Expand
  5. Aug 26, 2014
    Donnie Darko is an ambitious film, and it knows what it wants from the viewer, your attention to detail and a re - watch, because one viewing of the movie is not enough to understand it. Expand
  6. Nov 28, 2012
    An excellent story, rich with (forgive me) dark and provocative themes and a great performance from Jake Gyllenhaal.
  7. Feb 28, 2013
    I can't really understand what all the fuzz is about regarding this movie. There's no denying that it's a good idea, but the movie is, all in all, very boring. Nothing really happens and the plot doesn't develop. Luckily, the ending is satisfying (although a bit sad), as long as you can understand what's going on. Expand

See all 36 User Reviews