The Butterfly Effect
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has extreme graphic violence. Characters are severely wounded and killed, including children. A character commits suicide and an animal is tortured and killed. Children are also molested (off-camera) and there are references to prison rape. The movie includes nudity and very explicit sexual references and situations, including bondage gear, prostitution, and references to multiple orgasms. Characters smoke (including children), drink, and use drugs (bong shown, character is an addict, cocaine mentioned). Characters use very strong language, including hate speech.
What's the story?
In THE BUTTERFLY AFFECT, Evan is a tortured soul given to blackouts as a child. Now in college, as his memories begin to return, Evan regrets not having been able to save Kayleigh (Amy Smart), the girl he loved, from her abusive father. He realizes that can go back in time and change the direction of events, but each time he does he makes things worse. Evan goes back to the moment in which he agreed to take his clothes off for a child porn video made by Kayleigh's father (Eric Stoltz). Instead of saying no or running away or calling the police, 7-year-old Evan's second chance decision is to explain to Kayleigh's father in the words of his adult persona that her father should not destroy her life. Somehow, this instantly persuades him to stop molesting her. Then college-age Evan, back in the present but of course remembering the original reality, is transformed from cool guy to frat boy, with Kayleigh transformed from suicidal waitress to the happy sorority girl. But when 7-year-old Evan showed Kayleigh's father the error of his ways, he forgot about Kayleigh's brother, who now, in scenario #2, as the recipient of all of the abuse in the family, is over-protective of his sister. Disaster ensues and Evan has to find a way to go back again to try to make things work out better.
Is it any good?
This movie is not just pretentious twaddle. It is inept and pretentious twaddle, not even worth a "so bad it's good" video rental. The title comes from the idea, here attributed to "chaos theory," that the flap of a butterfly's wing can produce a typhoon half a world away. It's an irresistibly intriguing notion -- all of us have thought about what would happen if we could go back in time and make a different choice. But this movie's plot lacks imagination, insight, and even believability.
Evan's time travels include an assortment of every possible form of hideous crime and abuse, including animal torture, child molestation, the death of an infant, prison rape, and drug addiction, all unforgivably thrown in for shock value and none with any shred of dramatic legitimacy. And wherever he is, psychology teacher's pet, half-hearted participant in fraternity hazing, confined to prison, or confined to a wheelchair, Kutcher's acting is not up to the challenge of making even a nosebleed believable.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about moments when they could have made a different choice and how that would have affected the lives of others around them.