By A.B. Jabur
Warning: ‘The Butterfly Effect’ spoilers ahead
What if you could change your past to create a better future?
Starring Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, and Logan Lerman, the sci-fi thriller “The Butterfly Effect” tells the story of a young man with a traumatic past who finds a way to travel back in time and change his childhood events. Accidentally, he completely changes his current reality multiple times.
The film centers around Evan, a college student majoring in psychology, who has kept journals all his life. His journals describe the troubled occurrences of his childhood and teenage years, including his absent, diseased father, frequent blackouts, his fling with Kayleigh, and their troubles with her abusive family.
One day, while re-reading the journal from when he was 13, Evan mistakenly goes back in time and relives a diary entry, recollecting a previously buried memory. This sends him on a quest to find out what happened during his childhood blackouts, resulting in him seeing Kayleigh for the first time in 7 years, and stirring up painful memories with her. The next day, Evan finds out Kayleigh killed herself because of their conversation, and he decides to use his newfound skill to go back in time and save her. What ensues is a series of similar time travels, each resulting in an entirely different life for Evan; a small change in the past completely changes his future, as he continues outrunning the previous life while attempting to save the people he loves.
It soon becomes clear that Evan is attempting to create a perfect life for himself, and irrevocably changing the lives of those around him in the process. In his search for the perfect life, Evan ends up living multiple lives of pain, hurting himself and those around him - He will never get the perfect outcome, because a perfect life is non existant.
I have to commend ‘The Butterfly Effect’ for its stellar screenplay and thought-provoking plot, achieving a consistency which is hard to accomplish in a non-linear plotline. Ashton Kutcher, usually typecast in rom-coms, known as a non-serious actor, delivers a performance that proves his capabilities as a dramatic performer. Amy Smart delivers a chilling performance as multiple versions of the same person, which is a difficult feat to pull off, and leaves the audience considering the other versions of themselsves that could be out there. The only performance that wasn't exceptional was Melora Walters as Evan’s mother, who had a fair amount of screen time in the movie and who’s performance was weak and left something to be desired. Additional kudos to Logan Lerman, who, despite being only 12 during filming, delivers an eerie and unmatched performance as young Evan, with a monologue that chills you to your very bones, and leaves you thinking about it for days after seeing the movie.
This movie, while not particularly life-changing in terms of its cinematography, certainly makes you think about your life; if you could change an event in your past, would you? What would the consequences be in your current life, or for your family and friends? Would it be worth it?
Overall score: 4/5