Metascore
30

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 35
  2. Negative: 18 out of 35
  1. 75
    The ending is weak, and may be the result of the filmmakers writing themselves into a corner and not wanting to conclude things in a burst of nihilistic excess. Yet, even though it's a cheat, it retains a degree of resonance.
  2. 63
    Kutcher delivers a credibly serious performance as Evan, and he's surrounded by a skilled supporting cast.
  3. 63
    There's so much flashing forward and backward, so many spins of fate, so many chapters in the journals, that after awhile I felt that I, as well as time, was being jerked around.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    60
    A terrific story, years in the making, that clearly stays true to the uncompromising vision of its creators. The results are on the screen.
  5. As a thriller, The Butterfly Effect is iffy and uneven, but as a portrait of a people, it's effective and intriguing.
  6. 58
    Isn't a complete waste of time. If Kutcher seeks to transition from national joke to lightweight actor, he's made a decent stab at it.
  7. An entertaining piece of supernatural nonsense whose sheer audacity disarms all (well, nearly all) skepticism.
  8. The film works best as an extended "Twilight Zone" episode.
  9. 50
    Kutcher's performance isn't terrible, but the brilliant, bewildered, increasingly desperate Evan is the film's center, and grounding its flights of fantasy in rock-solid emotional reality is more than Kutcher can manage.
  10. In its own ridiculous way, The Butterfly Effect is an entertaining movie, despite mediocre acting, lackluster direction and a story that's sometimes frustrating. It has the integrity of camp, maintaining an odd earnestness in the face of its own absurdity.
  11. Somewhere, back in the mists of time, co-writers Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber must have flapped their gums in the fond hope of crafting a script; today, that whisper of hot air has swollen into a feature flick that rains down upon us a veritable torrent of inane plot.
  12. 50
    Better than you might expect despite its awkward, slow beginning, drawing you in gradually and paying off in surprisingly effective and bittersweet ways.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    Unpleasantness alone doesn't sink a movie. But miserable tidings intensify when there's not only a high ick factor but also floundering storytelling.
  14. With a surprisingly unhappy, anti-Hollywood ending that will appeal to those who like things dark.
  15. Ashton Kutcher wants to be taken seriously so badly it hurts. So does this metaphysical mess of a movie, a pseudo time-travel drama so complicated it takes more than half an hour just to establish the gimmick. And a gimmick it is.
  16. Kutcher is the wrong actor to anchor a psychological freak-out.
  17. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    40
    Arguably worse than its sadistic absurdity is the depressing, limited scope.
  18. 38
    So consistently silly and overwrought that it flirts with the elusive so-bad-it's-entertaining category.
  19. So, here's the problem with The Butterfly Effect: It's silly.
  20. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    30
    This overwrought and egregiously self-serious thriller about the poisonous fruit borne of child abuse grows more ridiculous by the quarter-hour and is poised for a theatrical life span scarcely longer than that of its eponymous insect.
  21. 30
    You have to, if not love, at least not mind a movie in which the very act of Ashton Kutcher reading is enough of a cosmic trauma to rip a hole in the fabric of space-time.
  22. 30
    My advice? Grab Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and recast with Jimmy Dean.
  23. Reviewed by: Michael Agger
    30
    Impressively sets a new standard for time travel gone awry.
  24. If you approach this movie in the right frame of mind -- that is, with total contempt -- you can still enjoy it as a comedy.
  25. As soon as I finish writing this review, I'm going to try traveling a few hours in the past. That way, I can improve my life by skipping this movie!
  26. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    25
    A film of singularly boneheaded conceits, Butterfly is populated by, and appears to have been made by, stoned college dudes more hung up on oh-wow twists than the need to make sense.
  27. 25
    Nothing can save this repetitive bore. Dude, where's your memory?
  28. 20
    A bad-movie-lover's heaven, and a good-movie-lover's hell.
  29. 20
    An undercooked allusion to chaos theory -- gives every appearance of having been conceived, planned and executed out of a high school locker room.
  30. As the requisite love interest, Amy Smart gives the film's only professional performance, while co-star Eric Stoltz, as the story's villain, walks somnolent through the scenery with what seems to be barely suppressed mirth. Given the deeply unpleasant plot machinations and amateurish direction, the actor's amusement is understandable.
  31. 20
    It's like receiving a box of Valentine's chocolates in which someone has deliberately hidden ground glass. Flee.
  32. 10
    Inhabited by a genuine spirit of cruelty, both toward its characters and its audience.
  33. It's a terrible life, and a terrible movie.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 335 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 167
  1. BurakF
    Mar 26, 2010
    8
    I'm absolutely blown away by how badly 'professional' critics have reviewed this gem. I first watched this film about 3-4 I'm absolutely blown away by how badly 'professional' critics have reviewed this gem. I first watched this film about 3-4 years ago and recently recalled how good it was so i got a hold of it and watched it for the second time, and i must say i enjoyed it just as much the second time as i did the first time. I'd definitely recommend watching this. Full Review »
  2. Aug 31, 2013
    8
    Excuse me? Why is the critic score 30?! This was an amazing movie and I know many people that love this movie, I'm absolutely baffled as toExcuse me? Why is the critic score 30?! This was an amazing movie and I know many people that love this movie, I'm absolutely baffled as to why the critics rated it so low. It's an interesting story, with many mind-bending aspects to it and it keep you entertained and thinking. I love movies like this and this one in particular is very good! Completely ignore the critics on this one, it's a crime that they rated this so low and every one of them should never be taken seriously after rating a movie like The Butterfly Effect this low. Full Review »
  3. DM
    Mar 5, 2010
    10
    I think the critics were paid to give these bad scores. Because seriously, this isn't the best movie but it's a damn fine one. I I think the critics were paid to give these bad scores. Because seriously, this isn't the best movie but it's a damn fine one. I loved it. Kutcher acted really well, the story was interesting and intrguing and for me the only downer is the ending. It's not that typical "happy ending" you'd want in this kind of movie but it did it's job. Great acting, great story: great movie. Full Review »