The Butterfly Effect

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


There is something very fresh and inventive about the screenplay for The Butterfly Effect, an elaborately conceived, enacted, and directed independent feature by the screenwriting/directing team of Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. It manages—and this isn't easy—to create the necessary suspension of disbelief that blending realism, the supernatural, a psychological thriller, and interpersonal drama requires. But it also takes a somewhat weary idea—that events in the past affect the course of those in the present and future—and shapes a compelling, entertaining, and surprisingly unpredictable story that is gripping and engaging from start to finish.

Ashton Kutcher (he also executive-produced) stars as Evan Treborn, who is searching for the truth about his past, which is blurred by an intermittent series of childhood blackouts. His quest, matched with his suddenly realized but inexplicable ability to rectify a series of past traumas, produces a story that twists, turns, and revolves in a beguiling maze of narrative ebbs and flows.

Executed to a T by its second-time directors, and featuring a dynamic cast that includes Amy Smart, Elden Henson, Eric Stoltz, and Melora Walters in addition to Kutcher, The Butterfly Effect is a terrific story, years in the making, that clearly stays true to the uncompromising vision of its creators. The results are on the screen.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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