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"THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT"
(2004) (Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Heavy None Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Sci-fi: After discovering that he can change both the past and present by revisiting his childhood memories in his mind, a young man sets out to right the wrongs of the past.
PLOT:
Evan Treborn (JOHN PATRICK AMEDORI) is a young and troubled boy. Raised by his mother, Andrea (MELORA WALTERS), due to his father being institutionalized, Evan has various bouts of blackouts where he can't remember anything. A doctor suggests that he start keeping diary-like journals, but they don't do much good in recovering some deeply repressed memories.

Most of them involve his best friends, siblings Kayleigh (IRENE GOROVAIA) and Tommy Miller (JESSE JAMES) as well as Lenny Kagan (KEVIN SCHMIDT). With a prank gone terribly bad and some unsavory moments involving Mr. Miller (ERIC STOLTZ), a video camera, and child porn, it's no wonder Evan isn't quite right.

He isn't alone. Years later, while Evan (ASHTON KUTCHER) is a college student with a Goth roommate, Thumper (ETHAN SUPLEE), Lenny (ELDEN HENSON) still appears shell-shocked from a past event; Kayleigh (AMY SMART) has been out on her own since the age of 15 and brother Tommy Miller (WILLIAM LEE SCOTT) is a jerk.

As Evan tries to recall the past with aid from his childhood journals, he ends up imagining a certain event in a slightly different fashion. To his shock and amazement, that minor change mysteriously alters the present. Armed with such knowledge and apparent power, he sets out to return to the past - in his mind - and right the various wrongs that occurred there. Yet, as he does so, he also creates various unexpected ramifications that radically change the history and personality of his friends and those around him.

As things progressively begin to spiral out of control, Evan races to return to the past in hopes of fixing those changes he accidentally created, only to have more of them occur.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or suspense and time travel related movies, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, sexual content, language and brief drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ASHTON KUTCHER plays a college student who accidentally discovers that he can change the past (and its various wrongs) and thus the present by re-imagining prior pivotal events. When he learns that he's inadvertently created other ramifications, he sets out to correct those. He uses strong profanity and has sex with Kayleigh.
  • AMY SMART plays his best friend from childhood who goes through various character alterations (including his girlfriend who has sex with him, a hooker, etc.) when he changes the past. She uses strong profanity.
  • WILLIAM LEE SCOTT plays her brother who similarly goes through various radical character changes. He uses strong profanity.
  • ELDEN HENSON plays their former childhood friend who starts out as a troubled young man and then similarly goes through various changes in personality.
  • MELORA WALTERS plays Evan's mother who's concerned about his blackouts.
  • ERIC STOLTZ plays Kayleigh and Tommy's father who drinks, abuses his kids (including making his daughter appear in child porno films) and uses profanity.
  • ETHAN SUPLEE plays Evan's Goth college roommate with spiked hair who uses strong profanity, has sex and does some drugs.
  • JOHN PATRICK AMEDORI plays Evan as a boy who suffers from blackouts due to traumatic events in his life. He smokes and uses profanity.
  • IRENE GOROVAIA plays his best friend who's forced into child porn films by her father.
  • JESSE JAMES plays her angry and abused brother who uses strong profanity and lashes out at everyone.
  • KEVIN SCHMIDT plays their childhood friend who's forced to initiate a prank that goes terribly wrong.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense/thriller. Profanity consists of at least 53 "f" words, while plenty of other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually related dialogue (some of it explicit) is present, as are several sexual encounters between young adults (with movement and sounds) and implied ones between kids (under orders of a father making child pornography). Female full frontal nudity briefly occurs, while other women are seen in scanty attire. In one scene, male to male oral sex appears certain, but it doesn't occur.

    Violence includes several deaths and various scenes of people striking or inflicting injuries on others (with bloody results). Those scenes and others (including a boy preparing to torch a dog in a bag and a scene featuring a lit stick of dynamite in a mailbox) may be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including the child porn and other domestic abuse), related tense family material is present, and the above behavior and other material may be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Various characters drink and/or smoke (including kids with the latter), while some drug use briefly occurs. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Kayleigh's father has a drink and we later see him with another.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • Some frat guys make fun of Thumper. In turn, he hits a billiards cue ball that flies through the air and shatters their pitcher of beer.
  • Evan asks his girlfriend if she wants a beer and she says yes.
  • Miscellaneous people have wine.
  • Thumper does some pot bong hits in his dorm room.
  • We see Kayleigh's father drinking again.
  • Two frat guys have beers, we see many empty plastic cups on the ground near them and one throws his beer onto a pledge.
  • We briefly see what looks like drug paraphernalia in a seedy motel room.
  • We see Kayleigh's father drinking again.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a drawing that young Evan has done that shows a person standing over another murdered person with a knife in his hand and blood on it and the dead guy.
  • We see a growing pool of blood around a man's head after he's been hit there.
  • Young Evan adversely reacts to hypnosis regarding a past traumatic event (we only see him) and then gets a bad nosebleed.
  • We see many bruises on young Kayleigh's arm (from her father) and she says that she deserves worse.
  • A flash occurs and we see Evan on the ground with blood on his face. Kayleigh's face is also rather bloody and we see the burned remains of a dog.
  • Evan has blood on his face in the past.
  • We see a cigarette burn on teenage Evan's belly and then see the related scar on his belly as an adult.
  • Adult Evan vomits.
  • Evan has another bloody nose.
  • We see blood on a person after a fight.
  • Evan jabs something sharp into a prisoner's crotch (with bloody results).
  • A boy stabs a shard of metal down into another boy's back, killing him. We see blood on the metal after it's removed.
  • We see a lot of blood on young Kayleigh's face after Tommy has hit her.
  • Evan has another bloody nose.
  • We see a bad scar on adult Kayleigh's face.
  • Evan has another bloody nose.
  • Evan holds a bloody sheet to his nose following another nosebleed.
  • Evan has another bloody nose.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Kayleigh's father makes a kid porn video (not seen) starring his young daughter and young Evan.
  • Kayleigh's father tells a kid, "Quit acting like a damn retard."
  • Young Tommy has a bad and mean attitude toward others and even torches Evan's dog.
  • Commenting on an obese person in the movie, "Seven," young Tommy says that he has "bigger t*tties than Lenny's mom."
  • We see many bruises on young Kayleigh's arm (from her father) and she says that she deserves worse.
  • Some frat guys make fun of Thumper.
  • A man in a restaurant touches or pinches adult Kayleigh's clothed rear where she works as a waitress.
  • A frat guy has cheat sheets for him and Evan during an exam (Evan doesn't use his).
  • A frat guy throws his beer onto a pledge.
  • Various prisoners have bad attitudes toward Evan, including in a sexual fashion.
  • Trying to bluff some white supremacists in prison, Evan comments on "spicks" and "niggers."
  • Some students laugh at another student who's in a wheelchair and missing most of both of his arms.
  • Evan refers to Tommy now being a "Jesus freak."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers.
  • Evan's mother finds the boy standing in the kitchen and holding a knife, but he drops the knife and doesn't remember anything.
  • Young Tommy and the others make Lenny put a lit stick of dynamite (or a very powerful firecracker) into a mailbox as a practical joke. We don't immediately see the result as there's a flash and then the kids are panicking and Lenny appears unconscious and/or in a bad mental state over what he saw.
  • Young Evan adversely reacts to hypnosis regarding a past traumatic event (we only see him) and then gets a bad nosebleed.
  • We see that young Tommy has Evan's dog tied up in a bag in a junkyard. He then pours lighter fluid on the bag and prepares to ignite it. When his sister and friends show up, he strikes Kayleigh on the head with a piece of wood, knocking her to the ground unconscious. He then hits Evan with it and kicks him several times. As he prepares to light the bag, Evan rushes toward him. A flash then occurs and we see Evan on the ground with blood on his face. Kayleigh's face is also rather bloody and we see the burned remains of the dog.
  • Some frat guys make fun of Thumper. In turn, he hits a billiards cue ball that flies through the air and shatters their pitcher of beer. When they get up to confront him, he breaks his cue stick and they back down.
  • We see a flashback to the above dynamite in the mailbox scene where a mother carries her young baby toward the mailbox, unaware of what's inside it. We hear, but don't see the resultant explosion.
  • We see a flashback to Kayleigh's father telling her and young Evan to remove their clothes for the kid porn video he's making.
  • We see a flashback to young Evan jamming his hands down onto some office paper organizers that have upright pins (we don't see the impact but do see the resultant scars on adult Evan's palms).
  • We see a flashback to the incident where young Tommy is preparing to torch Evan's dog.
  • Evan apparently tries to drown himself in a bathtub (we see him put his head under the water, but someone saves him).
  • Young Evan lights a stick of dynamite that ends up on the floor. Young Kayleigh then picks it up, but we don't see the resultant explosion.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Dynamite: Used in a prank that goes bad. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Hold your f*cking horses," "What the f*ck are you doing/is this?" "F*ck you (frat boy)," "F*cked up," "Wrong answer, f*ck-bag," "F*ck yeah," "F*cker," "Don't f*cking look at me," "You sick f*ck," "Back the f*ck off," "Good guess, f*ck-bag," "F*cking losers," "Twisted f*ck," "Back off, f*ck-bag," "Wrong answer, f*ck-bag," "Un-f*cking believable," "Don't you ever bring that sh*t up again," "Holy sh*t," "Look at that fat sh*t," "They make you feel like sh*t," "Just to stir up my sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "That's bullsh*t," "Naughty little sh*t," "Don't puss out," "Such a d*ck," "Quit acting like a damn retard," "Shut up, lard ass," "The hell you aren't," "You moron," "Balls" and "Nuts" (testicles), "What the hell?" "Get your ass back here," "Wipe that sad ass look off your face," "Shut up, faggot," "Pissed," "Wise ass," "Are you stupid or what?" "Twisted freak," "Screw this up," "One sadistic pup," "Don't freak out," "You're such a goofus," "Get off me asshole," "Hell or high water," "Bitch" (man), "Freaking out," "Maggot," "Spicks," "Niggers" (said by a white guy), "Idiot" and "Geeks."
  • Young Tommy and the others make Lenny put a lit stick of dynamite (or a very powerful firecracker) into a mailbox as a practical joke.
  • We see that young Tommy has Evan's dog tied up in a bag in a junkyard. He then pours lighter fluid on the bag and prepares to ignite it.
  • Several young women wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • Thumper is a large guy dressed like a Goth with spiked hair.
  • A man in a restaurant touches or pinches adult Kayleigh's clothed rear where she works as a waitress.
  • A prisoner has tattoos.
  • We see a flashback to a kid with his finger up his nose and another making farting sounds my having his hand in his armpit and flapping his arm.
  • We see a flashback to young Evan jamming his hands down onto some office paper organizers that have upright pins (we don't see the impact but do see the resultant scars on adult Evan's palms).
  • Trying to bluff some white supremacists in prison, Evan comments on "spicks" and "niggers."
  • Evan apparently tries to drown himself in a bathtub (we see him put his head under the water, but someone saves him).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 53 "f" words (2 used with "mother," 2 used sexually), 21 "s" words, 5 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 1 using female genitals ("p*ss"), 1 for breasts ("t*tties"), 10 asses (2 used with "hole"), 7 hells, 5 damns, 10 uses of "Oh my God," 5 of "G-damn," 2 of "God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "Jesus Christ," "My God" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Kayleigh's father talks about Evan and her being in a home movie. We see a flash and then see young Evan and Kayleigh in the basement in front of the camera, apparently nude (we don't see anything below the top of their chests). We later see more of this scene in a flashback described below.
  • Evan's mother shows a little cleavage.
  • Commenting on an obese person in the movie, "Seven," young Tommy says that he has "bigger t*tties than Lenny's mom."
  • Young Evan and Kayleigh briefly kiss at a movie theater.
  • We see Thumper's girlfriend who's clad in leather and shows some cleavage. Later, Evan's girlfriend (who also shows some cleavage) says, "It smells like sex in here" and Evan replies that Thumper had a busy afternoon. The two then do some passionate, clothed kissing. She also looks under his bed, finds his journals and says that most guys hide porn under their beds.
  • Evan's girlfriend wears a midriff-revealing top that shows cleavage.
  • We see Thumper in his bed across the room with some nudity.
  • A man in a restaurant touches or pinches adult Kayleigh's clothed rear where she works as a waitress.
  • We see a flashback to Kayleigh's father telling her and young Evan to remove their clothes for the kid porn video he's making.
  • Having made a change in the past, Evan awakens to find Kayleigh in bed with him. He falls from that and we see him in his boxers. She then tells him to hurry up, as she wants a "quickie" before school. He then discovers that he's in the girls' dorm and passes various young women in the hallway, including one in some small panties. He then enters the bathroom to tend to his bloody nose when a young woman emerges from the shower, seemingly unconcerned that he's there. We see several quick shots of her full frontal nudity as she gets out and wraps a towel around herself.
  • Adult Kayleigh playfully grabs at Evan's crotch and they do some passionate kissing.
  • We see Evan under the covers but on top of Kayleigh as they finish having sex. She says, "That was so good," asks, "Where did you learn that new trick?" and comments on multiple orgasms. He stays on top of her as they talk and has the sheet covering her chest and she comments on her toes being numb (from the orgasms).
  • Adult Tommy confronts Evan and Kayleigh in a menacing fashion. He says to Evan, "You're f*cking my sister" and that she's "a nice piece of ass" if he does say so himself. The two then get into a fight.
  • After having made some changes in the past and then violently attacking Tommy, Evan finds himself in prison. A prisoner symbolically sucks on his own thumb (for sex) in Evan's direction.
  • Various prisoners have bad attitudes toward Evan, including in a sexual fashion. One says that he'll have "sh*t on my d*ck or blood on my knife" when referring to what he expects from Evan. One grabs his clothed crotch and then two get into a fight.
  • Trying to bluff some white supremacists in prison, Evan asks, "Should I suck your d*ck now?" The men get up, lower their pants (we don't see anything), one says, "Watch the f*cking teeth" and Evan has his head near one's crotch. Instead, however, he jabs something sharp into one's crotch (with bloody results) and then hits the other.
  • After changing the past again, Evan discovers that adult Kayleigh is a low-end hooker. When he visits her, she tells him to make it fast as she's expecting someone and that time is money for her. After hearing Evan's wild-sounding time changing story, she sarcastically asks, "Does that make other girls wet?" He then tries to show that he knows her and comments on the twin moles on her thigh. She replies that anyone with $50 could tell him that. He then lists other things, including that when she has an orgasm her toes go numb. She then leaves while sarcastically telling him to go back to when she was seven "and f*ck me" in front of her father's video camera.
  • Adult Evan walks in on Thumper having sex with his girlfriend. She's on top and they're under the covers (with some movement) but he makes them leave.
  • We hear sexual sounds in a dorm room and then see that it's Lenny and Kayleigh, with Lenny asking if they woke Evan. We then see Kayleigh in her panties.
  • A poster on a dorm wall shows a young, topless woman in a sexy skirt with a book and something else mostly covering her bare breasts.
  • SMOKING
  • Young Evan and his young friends smoke several times, as does Kayleigh as an adult, while a prisoner also smokes.
  • Adult Kayleigh offers a smoke to Evan, but he declines the offer.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Young Evan asks if his dad is going to come to some event and his mom says that he won't. We later learn and see that his father is in a mental ward.
  • Young Evan says that he's going to his friends' house where he'll see what a real father is like.
  • Evan and his mother go to visit his father in a mental ward (reportedly the first time the boy has met his father). He sees him brought in shackled. There's a flash and we then see the father strangling the boy on the floor. Guards grab him, but he hits one until another strikes him on the back of the head with a club. We then see a growing pool of blood around the father's head.
  • We see the funeral of Evan's father.
  • We see many bruises on young Kayleigh's arm (from her father) and she says that she deserves worse.
  • Kayleigh states that she moved away from home at the age of 15 (due to her father abusing her).
  • Kayleigh's father slaps young Tommy on the head.
  • We learn that Kayleigh's father abused Tommy rather than her due to the changes Evan made.
  • We see another flashback to Evan's father grabbing the boy by the throat.
  • Kayleigh talks about her parents splitting up when she was a child.
  • Evan discovers his mother in the hospital dying from bone cancer (from smoking).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Traumatic childhood events.
  • Child molestation and kid porn.
  • People who suffer from blackouts.
  • People who are institutionalized.
  • The time travel conundrum presented by the film.
  • We see many bruises on young Kayleigh's arm (from her father) and she says that she deserves worse.
  • Evan gets a call that Kayleigh killed herself and we briefly see her funeral (including Evan dropping some flowers and a note on her coffin down in the hole in the ground).
  • Some students laugh at another student who's in a wheelchair and missing most of both of his arms.
  • Evan apparently tries to drown himself in a bathtub (we see him put his head under the water, but someone saves him).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Evan kicks a door open (seen again later).
  • A kid hits another kid with an inflatable crayon in a class.
  • We see a drawing that young Evan has done that shows a person standing over another murdered person with a knife in his hand and blood on it and the dead guy.
  • Evan and his mother go to visit his father in a mental ward. There's a flash and we then see the father strangling the boy on the floor. Guards grab him, but he hits one until another strikes him on the back of the head with a club. We then see a growing pool of blood around the father's head.
  • Young Tommy pushes Evan back against a wall while angry at him.
  • A guy purposefully trips young Tommy. In turn, he grabs a metal stand and strikes that guy. He then proceeds to pummel him with his fist until he's pulled away.
  • We see that young Tommy has Evan's dog tied up in a bag in a junkyard. He then pours lighter fluid on the bag and prepares to ignite it. When his sister and friends show up, he strikes Kayleigh on the head with a piece of wood, knocking her to the ground unconscious. He then hits Evan with it and kicks him several times. As he prepares to light the bag, Evan rushes toward him. A flash then occurs and we see Evan on the ground with blood on his face. Kayleigh's face is also rather bloody and we see the burned remains of the dog.
  • Some frat guys make fun of Thumper. In turn, he hits a billiards cue ball that flies through the air and shatters their pitcher of beer. When they get up to confront him, he breaks his cue stick and they back down.
  • We see a flashback to the above dog scene and see Tommy hit Evan with the board and then stomping down onto him. He then tells Lenny, "I'll slit your mother's throat in her sleep" and lowers the burning board down toward the dog in the bag, but we don't see what happens.
  • Adult Lenny pushes Evan back against a wall.
  • Kayleigh's father slaps young Tommy on the head.
  • A frat guy throws his beer onto a pledge.
  • Evan discovers that Tommy has smashed his car (we see the damage).
  • Adult Tommy confronts Evan and Kayleigh in a menacing fashion. He then hits Evan with a pole and repeatedly kicks him. Evan repeatedly sprays self-defense spray into Tommy's face and then kicks, punches and hits him with that pole, presumably killing him (with bloody results).
  • A prisoner purposefully trips Evan.
  • Evan and a prisoner get into a fight with the inmate repeatedly punching Evan and then grabbing him by his hair.
  • We see a flashback to young Evan jamming his hands down onto some office paper organizers that have upright pins (we don't see the impact but do see the resultant scars on adult Evan's palms).
  • Evan jabs something sharp into a prisoner's crotch (with bloody results) and then hits another man.
  • A boy stabs a shard of metal down into another boy's back, killing him. We see blood on the metal after it's removed.
  • We see a lot of blood on young Kayleigh's face after Tommy has hit her.
  • We see another flashback to Evan's father grabbing the boy by the throat.
  • Evan pushes Kayleigh's father back against a wall.
  • Evan purposefully smashes something in his dorm room.
  • Evan returns to the past where he rushes to stop the mother from approaching her mailbox that contains a lit stick of dynamite. The resultant explosion blows Evan backwards. Evan then awakens in the present to discover that he's missing most of both of his arms.
  • Evan apparently tries to drown himself in a bathtub (we see him put his head under the water, but someone saves him).
  • Some guards break glass windows to enter a room.



  • Reviewed January 14, 2004 / Posted January 23, 2004

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