What if you could go back in time and change one event from your past? Would it make things better, or like the theory the term “butterfly effect” originates from, would it just cause more chaos? That is the premise of The Butterfly Effect, a psychological thriller starring Ashton Kutcher in one of his first dramatic roles.
The Butterfly Effect begins by showing us snapshots of the childhood and teenage years of a boy named Evan Treborn. Evan frequently suffers from blackouts, specifically occurring during stressful periods in his life that often include his childhood crush, Kayleigh. We only get a glimpse of these events that have occurred, but from what we can see, they are clearly traumatic.
Eventually, Evan and his mother relocate and we fast-forward several years. Evan (Ashton Kutcher) is now in college, trying to understand the causes of his blackouts. When he digs up his old journals, Evan realizes that he can time travel back to those specific moments in his past that he has written about and change the outcome. Unfortunately, the time traveling often makes things worse for Kayleigh, his friends and family, and/or himself. As Evan hustles to change his fate and the fate of his loved ones, we are left wondering: Will he ever make things right? Or will his meddling in the past ultimately destroy his future?
Chilling and suspenseful, the Butterfly Effect really makes you ponder the momentous impact that one event can have on your life and the lives of others. Throughout the film, I found myself on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next. A word of warning: some of the scenes in this movie are quite disturbing. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this film to those who enjoy thrillers or are interested in the study of childhood trauma on psychological development.
The Butterfly Effect DVD (including alternative endings and deleted scenes) is available to check out from the Gabriele Library.