The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Amy Smart – you may remember her as the topless girl from Road Trip. Here playing playing a drugged-up version of Kayleigh, Evan’s childhood friend.

College student Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher – note the reborn in his surname) after suffering numerous unpleasant episodes during his childhood, finds that he has the ability to go back in time to inhabit his younger-self during these episodes and to then change what happened. However  he has no control over the effect these changes will have on his later life and the people in his life…

It’s thought provoking because it makes you question how much of people’s behaviour is because of events that happened to them in their past. It also makes you wonder if things had been different, would they have really turned out to be a totally different person? Contrast Evan’s childhood friend Kayleigh (Amy Smart) who becomes – dependant on Evan’s life choices – a down-trodden waitress, a popular soroirty girl, or a drug-addled whore.

It’s dramatically very tense and also a little unpleasant : A large proportion of the film is focused on Evan’s childhood, and to put it bluntly – it’s not an easy time for him or his friends. They suffer sexual abuse, violence and a lot of guilt from the accidental killing of a baby. Unlike many time-travel films where people go back and change the past, it doesn’t feel repetitive in any way. You always want to see what will happen next, and it helps that the film tells it’s story in an imaginative and clever way. Ashton Kutcher’s acting occasionally seems a little ‘off’ but it’s easy to put it down to a quirk of the character of Evan rather than anything negative.

I’m glad this film was made in 2004 because I think if this had been made today it would have been much more teen-orientated and a lot less mature.

As it is though, it’s definitely worth watching  7/10


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