History Main / TheButterflyEffect

17th Feb '13 9:33:25 PM erforce
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http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_butterfly_effect_001_45.jpg

''TheButterflyEffect'' is a 2004 American ScienceFiction PsychologicalThriller film starring Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz, and others, directed and written by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber and distributed by New Line Cinema.

It's about a guy who can travel back in time by reading his journals and change what happened then, and uses this ability to try to undo various traumatic events he and his friends suffered as children. Despite his best intentions, the results aren't always good for everyone. What's more, his own brain suffers from trying to 'assimilate' all the new memories from these consequences.

The title is a reference to the [[ButterflyOfDoom butterfly effect]], which theorizes that a change in something seemingly small and innocuous, such as a flap of a butterfly's wings, may have unexpected larger consequences in the future, such as the path a hurricane will travel.

It was followed by two [[InNameOnly largely unrelated]] DirectToDVD sequels, ''2'' and ''3: Revelations''.
----
!!This film provides examples of:

* AllJustADream: [[spoiler:Subverted. At one point near the end of the film it looks like the story is gonna go out with a TwistEnding. As Evan's doctor explains that there are no journals, he asserts that everything that we've apparantly seen so far is a delusion that Evan created to cope with the guilt of killing Kayleigh, describing alternate universes with colleges, prisons, and paraplegia. Then it turns out that the mental time travel ''was'' real when Evan goes back one last time]].
* AnAesop: Similar to that of ''TheTimeMachine'' remake; to attempt to undo the mistakes of the past is futile. Sometimes, you just have to accept things the way they are.
** Which is broken by his final decision by [[spoiler:making sure Kayleigh stays out of his life which makes things all the better for everyone in the end.]] So yeah,it's more like the aesop get's twisted into "You'll only be ok if you never find true love."
* BeardOfSorrow: It's subtle, but there. In the futures that Evan loses Kayleigh in he's always grown out a full beard. When he's still with her in the "frat-boy" future he's shaved it down to a goatee, but it isn't until [[spoiler:the very end of the movie, when he's put her being a part of his life behind him]] that he's clean-shaven.
* BittersweetEnding: But only in the theatrical cut.
* ButterflyOfDoom
* BlessedWithSuck
* BlofeldPloy: Tommy beats the shit out of a random kid in a movie theater after he sees Evan kissing Kayleigh.
* BlondGuysAreEvil: Tommy. Even in a reality where he turns out alright, his hair is brown. Lenny also depending on the reality.
* BurnBabyBurn: Turns out this is what originally happened with the dynamite. Also [[spoiler: the ending. (Although that was hinted at throughout)]].
* ButtMonkey: Taken to the extreme.
* CrapsackWorld: It starts here and gets ''worse''.
** And worse, and worse, and worse...
* CreepyChild: Tommy, who is a total sociopath.
** Except when he's not, and then he's arguably MORE creepy. He's more of a creepy adult then, though.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: This is the least sad part about the ending.
* DrivenToSuicide
* DownerEnding: The director's cut.
** Let's not forget the FridgeBrilliance when you realize [[spoiler: his mother made a reference earlier that she had 2 miscarriages before him...]] So [[FridgeHorror they ALL came to the same conclusion, eventually.]]
*** Or the other FridgeBrilliance when you remember [[spoiler: the crazy fortune teller in the first timeline screaming that he has no soul and wasn't supposed to have been born.]]
* ExactWords: "Here, take this [[BuffySpeak rusty spiky thing]]. You've got to stop Tommy! Cut the rope!"
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Kayley's hair colour changes depending on how happy she is in whatever timeline. It's brown and mousy in the timelines where she's miserable and it's blonde when she's happy. [[spoiler: Her hair is blonde at the end]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler:You have no life-line. No soul. You were never meant to be.]]
* ForWantOfANail: A rusty, spiky nail, in all likelihood.
* FromBadToWorse: and worse and worse and ''worse''.
* GrandfatherParadox: No matter what ending you watch (or what ending you want to prefer), the plot is resolved in a manner that would make it impossible and/or unnecessary for Evan to ever travel back in time and influence past events, which means he never traveled back in time and changed the timeline, which means Evan went back in time and changed the timeline, which means he never traveled back in time, which means he did, which means he never did, which means he did...
* GroundhogPeggySue
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: In several realities, Kayley, especially while still a child.
* HeelFaceDoorSlam: Tommy in one reality. [[spoiler: Evan manages to convince him not to kill his dog and invoke his BigBrotherInstinct... only for Lenny to stab him from behind]].
* HeelFaithTurn: Tommy in an alternate timeline.
* HeroicBSOD: One character has this after the [[spoiler:dynamite incident]].
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:'''Strangling yourself as a fetus?!''']]
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Deconstructed.
* HollywoodLaw
* InSpiteOfANail: Evan goes back in time just to [[{{Squick}} stab his own hands]] on the teacher's spiky desk top note-pad in seventh grade so he can re-live his whole life, land up in the same jail about to be raped by the same prison gang, and prove to his cellmate that he has magical powers in the form of [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic stigmata]].
** As if the movie wasn't enough of a MindScrew, every single other time Evan changed the past, no one else noticed ANYTHING different, but that ONE time his cell mate suddenly notices the "new" scars that should have been there the whole time from his [=PoV=].

* IncestIsRelative
** BrotherSisterIncest: heavily implied.
*** Tommy made a rather un-brotherly remark towards his sister in one timeline.
** ParentalIncest
* InstantWinCondition
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy
* KavorkaMan: Evan's roommate Thumper, who's seen making out with an array of hot girls despite being an obese guy in goth clothing.
* KidsAreCruel
* MeaningfulName: "Evan Treborn" = "event reborn", alluding to Evan's [[spoiler:and his father's]] power.
** His name was originally going to be "Chris Treborn", but the writers feared the wrath of religious groups.
* MentalTimeTravel
* MindScrew
* MySisterIsOffLimits
* NextSundayAD: The epilogue takes place eight years in the future, which would be 2010.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Every single goddamn time he goes back to "fix" something. The first time, he seems to get it right and has the perfect life when he gets back to the present. But then [[spoiler:he manages to screw it up by murdering his girlfriend's psychotic brother and getting put in prison]]. Brilliant.
* NightmareFuelStationAttendant: Subverted, but still disturbing.
* NotQuiteTheRightThing: The reason things go downhill. Any time Evan tries to go back and do what seems to be the right thing. ''Any'' time.
* PlotHole: [[TimeyWimeyBall Time travel inconsistencies]] aside, there's no mention of Evan ever having a trial before being sent to prison after he [[spoiler: kills Tommy]] nor is their any mention about why he didn't [[spoiler: plead self-defense]] when the murder was clearly witnessed as such and could have avoided any kind of stay in jail.
** Concerning the second example: it's easy to extrapolate from his mother's visit that he did plead - and is still pleading through his lawyer - precisely that, but the court was unwilling to believe him because a) his force was excessive (was [[spoiler: beating Tommy ''to death'']] strictly necessary when he was already subdued with spray, on the ground?) and b) his girlfriend was the ''only'' witness; it's possible she argued against him. She didn't really like him doing that to [[spoiler: her brother]].
* PrisonRape: A very brutal example.
* RelationshipResetButton: The ending.
* RetGone: [[spoiler:Evan nullifying his own existence in the director's cut]].
* RevisedEnding
* RewritingReality
* RippleEffectProofMemory: Memories from the "new" timeline hit Evan in a rush, giving him a nosebleed... caused by [[MySkullRunnethOver brain hemorrhaging]].
* SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong: '''Very''' subverted.
* StarCrossedLovers: at least in the director's cut, [[spoiler: Evan]] and [[spoiler: Kayleigh]] just aren't meant to be together.
* TapOnTheHead: Done quite realistically.
* TimeIsDangerous: The directors cut reveals that Evan suffers minor brain damage every time he majorly changes the past, resulting in severe migraines and nosebleeds as he gets the extra memories (often 20 years worth) burnt onto his existing ones. On the other hand, he's GenreSavvy enough to realise that repeated time travel might ultimately kill him, causing him to intentionally think through what he wants to change before each trip.
* TimeyWimeyBall
* TrainStationGoodbye
* WhenSheSmiles: Evan has this reaction to Kayley in the first alternate reality. He's seen her sad and messed up so many times that when he sees her smile he's convinced he wants to marry her.
* WhereItAllBegan
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Evan unintentionally becomes one of these.
* WorldHalfEmpty
----
<<|{{Film}}|>>

to:

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_butterfly_effect_001_45.jpg

''TheButterflyEffect'' is a 2004 American ScienceFiction PsychologicalThriller film starring Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz, and others, directed and written by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber and distributed by New Line Cinema.

It's about a guy who can travel back in time by reading his journals and change what happened then, and uses this ability to try to undo various traumatic events he and his friends suffered as children. Despite his best intentions, the results aren't always good for everyone. What's more, his own brain suffers from trying to 'assimilate' all the new memories from these consequences.

The title is a reference to the [[ButterflyOfDoom butterfly effect]], which theorizes that a change in something seemingly small and innocuous, such as a flap of a butterfly's wings, may have unexpected larger consequences in the future, such as the path a hurricane will travel.

It was followed by two [[InNameOnly largely unrelated]] DirectToDVD sequels, ''2'' and ''3: Revelations''.
----
!!This film provides examples of:

* AllJustADream: [[spoiler:Subverted. At one point near the end of the film it looks like the story is gonna go out with a TwistEnding. As Evan's doctor explains that there are no journals, he asserts that everything that we've apparantly seen so far is a delusion that Evan created to cope with the guilt of killing Kayleigh, describing alternate universes with colleges, prisons, and paraplegia. Then it turns out that the mental time travel ''was'' real when Evan goes back one last time]].
* AnAesop: Similar to that of ''TheTimeMachine'' remake; to attempt to undo the mistakes of the past is futile. Sometimes, you just have to accept things the way they are.
** Which is broken by his final decision by [[spoiler:making sure Kayleigh stays out of his life which makes things all the better for everyone in the end.]] So yeah,it's more like the aesop get's twisted into "You'll only be ok if you never find true love."
* BeardOfSorrow: It's subtle, but there. In the futures that Evan loses Kayleigh in he's always grown out a full beard. When he's still with her in the "frat-boy" future he's shaved it down to a goatee, but it isn't until [[spoiler:the very end of the movie, when he's put her being a part of his life behind him]] that he's clean-shaven.
* BittersweetEnding: But only in the theatrical cut.
* ButterflyOfDoom
* BlessedWithSuck
* BlofeldPloy: Tommy beats the shit out of a random kid in a movie theater after he sees Evan kissing Kayleigh.
* BlondGuysAreEvil: Tommy. Even in a reality where he turns out alright, his hair is brown. Lenny also depending on the reality.
* BurnBabyBurn: Turns out this is what originally happened with the dynamite. Also [[spoiler: the ending. (Although that was hinted at throughout)]].
* ButtMonkey: Taken to the extreme.
* CrapsackWorld: It starts here and gets ''worse''.
** And worse, and worse, and worse...
* CreepyChild: Tommy, who is a total sociopath.
** Except when he's not, and then he's arguably MORE creepy. He's more of a creepy adult then, though.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: This is the least sad part about the ending.
* DrivenToSuicide
* DownerEnding: The director's cut.
** Let's not forget the FridgeBrilliance when you realize [[spoiler: his mother made a reference earlier that she had 2 miscarriages before him...]] So [[FridgeHorror they ALL came to the same conclusion, eventually.]]
*** Or the other FridgeBrilliance when you remember [[spoiler: the crazy fortune teller in the first timeline screaming that he has no soul and wasn't supposed to have been born.]]
* ExactWords: "Here, take this [[BuffySpeak rusty spiky thing]]. You've got to stop Tommy! Cut the rope!"
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Kayley's hair colour changes depending on how happy she is in whatever timeline. It's brown and mousy in the timelines where she's miserable and it's blonde when she's happy. [[spoiler: Her hair is blonde at the end]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler:You have no life-line. No soul. You were never meant to be.]]
* ForWantOfANail: A rusty, spiky nail, in all likelihood.
* FromBadToWorse: and worse and worse and ''worse''.
* GrandfatherParadox: No matter what ending you watch (or what ending you want to prefer), the plot is resolved in a manner that would make it impossible and/or unnecessary for Evan to ever travel back in time and influence past events, which means he never traveled back in time and changed the timeline, which means Evan went back in time and changed the timeline, which means he never traveled back in time, which means he did, which means he never did, which means he did...
* GroundhogPeggySue
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: In several realities, Kayley, especially while still a child.
* HeelFaceDoorSlam: Tommy in one reality. [[spoiler: Evan manages to convince him not to kill his dog and invoke his BigBrotherInstinct... only for Lenny to stab him from behind]].
* HeelFaithTurn: Tommy in an alternate timeline.
* HeroicBSOD: One character has this after the [[spoiler:dynamite incident]].
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:'''Strangling yourself as a fetus?!''']]
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Deconstructed.
* HollywoodLaw
* InSpiteOfANail: Evan goes back in time just to [[{{Squick}} stab his own hands]] on the teacher's spiky desk top note-pad in seventh grade so he can re-live his whole life, land up in the same jail about to be raped by the same prison gang, and prove to his cellmate that he has magical powers in the form of [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic stigmata]].
** As if the movie wasn't enough of a MindScrew, every single other time Evan changed the past, no one else noticed ANYTHING different, but that ONE time his cell mate suddenly notices the "new" scars that should have been there the whole time from his [=PoV=].

* IncestIsRelative
** BrotherSisterIncest: heavily implied.
*** Tommy made a rather un-brotherly remark towards his sister in one timeline.
** ParentalIncest
* InstantWinCondition
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy
* KavorkaMan: Evan's roommate Thumper, who's seen making out with an array of hot girls despite being an obese guy in goth clothing.
* KidsAreCruel
* MeaningfulName: "Evan Treborn" = "event reborn", alluding to Evan's [[spoiler:and his father's]] power.
** His name was originally going to be "Chris Treborn", but the writers feared the wrath of religious groups.
* MentalTimeTravel
* MindScrew
* MySisterIsOffLimits
* NextSundayAD: The epilogue takes place eight years in the future, which would be 2010.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Every single goddamn time he goes back to "fix" something. The first time, he seems to get it right and has the perfect life when he gets back to the present. But then [[spoiler:he manages to screw it up by murdering his girlfriend's psychotic brother and getting put in prison]]. Brilliant.
* NightmareFuelStationAttendant: Subverted, but still disturbing.
* NotQuiteTheRightThing: The reason things go downhill. Any time Evan tries to go back and do what seems to be the right thing. ''Any'' time.
* PlotHole: [[TimeyWimeyBall Time travel inconsistencies]] aside, there's no mention of Evan ever having a trial before being sent to prison after he [[spoiler: kills Tommy]] nor is their any mention about why he didn't [[spoiler: plead self-defense]] when the murder was clearly witnessed as such and could have avoided any kind of stay in jail.
** Concerning the second example: it's easy to extrapolate from his mother's visit that he did plead - and is still pleading through his lawyer - precisely that, but the court was unwilling to believe him because a) his force was excessive (was [[spoiler: beating Tommy ''to death'']] strictly necessary when he was already subdued with spray, on the ground?) and b) his girlfriend was the ''only'' witness; it's possible she argued against him. She didn't really like him doing that to [[spoiler: her brother]].
* PrisonRape: A very brutal example.
* RelationshipResetButton: The ending.
* RetGone: [[spoiler:Evan nullifying his own existence in the director's cut]].
* RevisedEnding
* RewritingReality
* RippleEffectProofMemory: Memories from the "new" timeline hit Evan in a rush, giving him a nosebleed... caused by [[MySkullRunnethOver brain hemorrhaging]].
* SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong: '''Very''' subverted.
* StarCrossedLovers: at least in the director's cut, [[spoiler: Evan]] and [[spoiler: Kayleigh]] just aren't meant to be together.
* TapOnTheHead: Done quite realistically.
* TimeIsDangerous: The directors cut reveals that Evan suffers minor brain damage every time he majorly changes the past, resulting in severe migraines and nosebleeds as he gets the extra memories (often 20 years worth) burnt onto his existing ones. On the other hand, he's GenreSavvy enough to realise that repeated time travel might ultimately kill him, causing him to intentionally think through what he wants to change before each trip.
* TimeyWimeyBall
* TrainStationGoodbye
* WhenSheSmiles: Evan has this reaction to Kayley in the first alternate reality. He's seen her sad and messed up so many times that when he sees her smile he's convinced he wants to marry her.
* WhereItAllBegan
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Evan unintentionally becomes one of these.
* WorldHalfEmpty
----
<<|{{Film}}|>>
[[redirect:Film/TheButterflyEffect]]
25th Dec '12 6:20:27 PM DivineDeath
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* ShootTheDog: Tommy burns Evan's puppy to death right in front of him.
12th Dec '12 12:37:01 PM DoveAlexa
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* HairOfGold: Kayley.

to:

* HairOfGold: Kayley.HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: In several realities, Kayley, especially while still a child.
9th Dec '12 9:21:29 PM AxelxGabriel
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Added DiffLines:

** Which is broken by his final decision by [[spoiler:making sure Kayleigh stays out of his life which makes things all the better for everyone in the end.]] So yeah,it's more like the aesop get's twisted into "You'll only be ok if you never find true love."
5th Dec '12 8:34:44 AM mlsmithca
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* NotQuiteTheRightThing: The reason ItGotWorse. Any time Evan tries to go back and do what seems to be the right thing. ''Any'' time.

to:

* NotQuiteTheRightThing: The reason ItGotWorse.things go downhill. Any time Evan tries to go back and do what seems to be the right thing. ''Any'' time.
2nd Dec '12 11:22:34 PM LadyYuki
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* FromBadToWorse: and worse and worse and ''worse''.



* ItGotWorse: and worse and worse and ''worse''.
26th Nov '12 7:25:35 PM WoaLG
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* Foreshadowing: [[spoiler:You have no life-line. No soul. You were never meant to be.]]

to:

* Foreshadowing: {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler:You have no life-line. No soul. You were never meant to be.]]
26th Nov '12 4:56:54 PM WoaLG
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* Foreshadowing: [[spoiler:You have no life-line. No soul. You were never meant to be.]]






** BrotherSisterIncest: Was it ever outright stated, or was it just heavily implied?

to:

** BrotherSisterIncest: Was it ever outright stated, or was it just heavily implied?implied.
1st Nov '12 7:54:43 PM sabrina_diamond
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It's about a guy who can travel back in time by reading journals and change what happened, and uses this ability to try to undo various traumatic events he and his friends suffered as children. Despite his best intentions, the results aren't always good. What's more, his brain suffers from trying to assimilate all the new memories.

The title is a reference to the [[ButterflyOfDoom butterfly effect]], which theorises that a change in something seemingly innocuous, such as a flap of a butterfly's wings, may have unexpected larger consequences in the future, such as the path a hurricane will travel.

to:

It's about a guy who can travel back in time by reading his journals and change what happened, happened then, and uses this ability to try to undo various traumatic events he and his friends suffered as children. Despite his best intentions, the results aren't always good. good for everyone. What's more, his own brain suffers from trying to assimilate 'assimilate' all the new memories.

memories from these consequences.

The title is a reference to the [[ButterflyOfDoom butterfly effect]], which theorises theorizes that a change in something seemingly small and innocuous, such as a flap of a butterfly's wings, may have unexpected larger consequences in the future, such as the path a hurricane will travel.
26th Oct '12 10:20:05 PM Sheora
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!!This movie contains examples of:

to:

!!This movie contains film provides examples of:
This list shows the last 10 events of 51. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.TheButterflyEffect