I actually had to re-buy this one after realizing that we must have lent it out to someone and never got it back. I’m not usually a huge Ashton Kutcher fan, but I love love love this movie. It seriously had a very big affect on me emotionally, and I just thought the concept was so cool and interesting. The big events where the main character has his blackouts are so freaking intense, and when you find out why he had the blackouts? Yeah even better.
As the title implies, this movie is kind of about time travel. But in a strange way that I haven’t really seen done before this movie. The theory of the Butterfly effect is that the slightest change (in this case to past events) can cause a ripple effect that branches out so much farther then the original event. The movie starts out with seven year old Evan (Ashton Kutcher) and his mother being called into his school after he has drawn a rather disturbing picture. Evan insists that he doesn’t even remember drawing it. And later on we find out why he did it after some more disturbing stuff happens to our poor beleaguered main character.
It continues on through various parts of Evan’s childhood, but most specifically his relationship with his friend Kayleigh (Amy Smart) and her brother Tommy (William Lee Scott). After the first blackout, his mother takes him to go see a psychiatrist and he recommends that Evan write in a journal so that he can be more in tune with his memories and that it would maybe help him recover the lost time.
After a series of continually more disturbing events, his mom finally gets fed up and they move. There is a rather heart wrenching scene as he is pulling away in the moving van and writes “I’ll come back for you” in big block letters as Kayleigh watches from the sidewalk. Flash forward to college aged Evan who celebrates with his roommate Thumper (Ethan Suplee) because he has gone seven years without a blackout. He’s fairly well adjusted all things considered (I’m not going to give away some of the seriously fucked up shit that happens before and after the blackouts when he was a kid, suffice it to say it’s seriously screwed up). He brings a chick home after their little celebration and she finds the journals under his bed in his dorm room. She begs him to read her some. He reluctantly does, and that is when shit really gets real.
While he reads a passage from when he was thirteen, Evan actually gets transported back into the memory right where the blackout started when he was a child. When he comes out of it, he has a new scar that wasn’t there before because he accidentally burned himself with a cigarette. He figures out if he can make a new scar that maybe he can heal some scars as well. Especially after finding Kayleigh again after all those years turns devastating. But unfortunately, changing the past is not a walk in the park, and after years worth of new memories are shoved forcefully into his brain, he wakes up with a wicked nosebleed and likely some mild brain damage.
The first time he changes something in his past his world dramatically shifts, to the point where he barely even recognizes the man that he has become in this new life. Kayleigh and him are together and they are both members of sorority and frat houses respectively. The guys that he made fun of at the bar with Thumper are now his friends. They all notice him acting way differently because he barely knows what is going on. There are some amusing things that happen in this little alternate version of his life, but eventually it turns sour.
The one thread through the entire movie is his love for Kayleigh. It’s so sad though, he just wants Kayleigh to be happy but every permutation has some fatal flaw, some way worse then others. And the more he changes, the more his brain hemorrhages from all of the new memories. Overall Ashton did pretty well in this film, he still isn’t the best actor in the world or anything, but he sold it for me on this one.
I just adore the story line and the characters, and it really tears at the heartstrings for me. If it isn’t something that you would normally pick up, you should give it a try. It really is an awesome plot and the twists are unexpected and exciting. I really do love this movie and it is one of those I can watch time and again and still enjoy it.