The Butterfly Effect

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 353 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 353

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User Reviews

  1. SongK.
    Jan 31, 2004
    5
    Ashton is a bad actor. The movie is very slow and repetitive. It has nothing to do with chaos theory and very little to do with butterfly effect. The first half of the movie is very slow and boring. The 2nd half sees some action but so many stupid things happen with lots of bad Ashton acting. The ending... well that could have been much better. I wanted to leave the movie half way through Ashton is a bad actor. The movie is very slow and repetitive. It has nothing to do with chaos theory and very little to do with butterfly effect. The first half of the movie is very slow and boring. The 2nd half sees some action but so many stupid things happen with lots of bad Ashton acting. The ending... well that could have been much better. I wanted to leave the movie half way through it. The movie overuses loud sudden sounds to keep the audience awake. Unless you're an average teenage girl, this movie is not worth your time. Expand
  2. PatC.
    Mar 27, 2006
    5
    Only watched Director's Cut. Fragmented screenplay, which in itself is a powerful argument for chaos theory, but an interesting premise. Actually, this is a good example of the stuff of a classic movie clumsily handled. An "It's A Wonderful Life" heavily laden with the darker alternatives of the supposed choices we make in life. A difficult movie to absorb, but lurking in this Only watched Director's Cut. Fragmented screenplay, which in itself is a powerful argument for chaos theory, but an interesting premise. Actually, this is a good example of the stuff of a classic movie clumsily handled. An "It's A Wonderful Life" heavily laden with the darker alternatives of the supposed choices we make in life. A difficult movie to absorb, but lurking in this mess message of undeniable value to those who have been through hell and still try to remain positive. Collapse
  3. Mar 29, 2014
    4
    Interesting idea, with a good theme. Unfortunately very badly acted with freakin huge plot holes. Plot caverns. Honestly I don't know why anyone would get Ashton to be in a film if they wanted the film to be good? I reckon they knew they had a weak script here. Anyway somewhere along the line they manage to get an interesting point about human nature across, but its pretty much smotheredInteresting idea, with a good theme. Unfortunately very badly acted with freakin huge plot holes. Plot caverns. Honestly I don't know why anyone would get Ashton to be in a film if they wanted the film to be good? I reckon they knew they had a weak script here. Anyway somewhere along the line they manage to get an interesting point about human nature across, but its pretty much smothered by the surrounding crap. Shame really. Expand
  4. MuzammilAkhund
    Feb 9, 2004
    6
    The movie is good and an entertaining despite mediocre acting :) lackluster direction and a frustating and confused story.
  5. RebeccaJ.
    Jul 18, 2004
    4
    Great idea, but the movie falls short of delivering a clear cut plot. It is hard to determine exactly what the message of the movie wants to be and therefore is a waste of time. Amy Smart is terrific as always, but Ashton Kutcher is, sadly, laughable.
  6. CaptEBO
    Jul 9, 2004
    4
    It had me for a while but lost me once the inanity and superlative of "time travel" took too much away from the film. The key to science fiction and fantasy is to base it in reality and then stretch it as much as possible without breaking it. TBE broke it so many times that I found it a tiring bore without care of the outcomes of each main character.
  7. WillM.
    Feb 8, 2004
    4
    The trips back in time got to the point of being annoying and you needed a scorecard to keep track of everything. direction and script was less than adequate.
  8. NicoleG.
    Jan 24, 2004
    6
    It was an alright movie...ashton is awesome..the role of the mom..that actress i mean was horrible but it kept me thinking the entire movie.
  9. JamesH
    Dec 29, 2009
    6
    Such an interesting subject idea given such a convoluted and less than thrilling treatment. It is imaginative, and very well made, but it gets repetitive and tiring after awhile. The acting is fair.
  10. Jan 22, 2014
    6
    More creepy than I'd expected, but also a bit clever and funny. All in all, a mix of entertainment elements that can make young adults see some underlying laws that run through life. Unless you philosophize about time and space occasionally, it can provide some food for thought. And hey, it's rare that an American teenage-entertainer has philosophical content!
  11. Jun 16, 2014
    6
    With such an original script, it's a shame the ambitious writing didn't create a more compelling storyline. The latter half of the film shows obvious results of writer's block as it become repetitive and the entire premise falls into itself by the end, the final scenes being the weakest of the entire film. The only thing worth watching this for, is the initial setup and minor thrill.
  12. Nov 10, 2012
    5
    One of the best storys in film history, but deplorably reliazed. The child actors can't play their complex characters good but disappointingly, the grown-ups can't either! There are also some logical mistakes and disproportionate stylizations. It's no good movie, but I love the story and I was so touched with all the horrible butterfly effects in it.
  13. Nov 2, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Butterfly Effect: 4 out of 10: The first 40 minutes of The Butterfly Effect are tough sledding. It's not incompetent film-making mind you. If anything the film is simply too effective. Literally showing the world's worst childhood. It is so much of a downer with child molestation, baby killing and burning puppies that it's almost a Stephen King parody. I guess there is a reason we repress memories after all. I would repress that childhood as well.

    The film to that point kind of reminded me of Sleepers where it was so unpleasant it didn't matter how good the movie is. It's certainly nothing I would ever want to see again. Then the movie takes a wild turn as Ashton Kutcher shows up. As easy a target as he is I hate to admit the second two-thirds of the film are really not his fault.

    Some notes to writer/directors Eric Briss and J. Mackye Gruber. If your going to have scenes in a prison you might want to visit one first, or at least watch a documentary on the same. Speaking of documentaries "Revenge of the Nerds" and other eighties comedies are not a documentaries on college life. Sororities do not resemble the Playboy Mansion. And twenty-three year old crack whores often look bad but they tend not to resemble a Dawn of the Dead extra.

    If The Butterfly Effect didn't keep flashing back to the puppy and baby horrors, then the second two thirds would be a hoot. There is even a "hey there is a psycho chasing me lets take a walk in the dark woods" scene.

    Since Kutcher's time travel effects only his friends and family and nothing else at all. The Butterfly Effect inadvertently substantiates the reverse of the Butterfly theorem.

    Needless to say the change in tone from the childhood scenes and adult scenes is jarring. Though most of the humor in the adult scenes is admittedly unintentional. Kutcher travels back in time by staring at notebook paper. I tried the same technique staring at my screen. It didn't work I still lost two hours.
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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. A terrific story, years in the making, that clearly stays true to the uncompromising vision of its creators. The results are on the screen.
  2. An entertaining piece of supernatural nonsense whose sheer audacity disarms all (well, nearly all) skepticism.
  3. 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.