Is our life a coincidence, or are we following the way that the choices we make without our awareness lead us? Did you ever think of what would change if we didn’t choose the right and chose the left way? Or which dominoes we toppled when we overslept and missed the bus today? What we have missed or things that should have never existed in our lives… choices and parallel lives that follow them… Under these circumstances, we are trapped in the notion of time when the definitions are incompetent. Neither a step backward nor a step forward.
“The flutter of a butterfly in the Amazon forests can cause a storm to break in USA.” Minor changes in the beginning of a system may come along with large and unpredictable situations. This paradox is about the Chaos Theory, one of Edward N. Lorenz’s famous works. This unprovable situation remains only as a theory; we can say that we continue to deal with a scientific theory more philosophically. While giving examples of how large events can be created from a small situation; or often talking about the concept of time in cinema, this theory that we refer to has become part of our lives. The indispensable theme of philosophy is that the Freudians and behavioral scientists support the concept of ‘time’ as follows; according to them, events take place in the context of a cause and effect; something leads to another; another produces some other. Actually, past determines a situation that is happening at the moment. According to Carl Gustav Jung, who thinks that time is not real, this connection is not so simple; According to his theory of synchronicity, we are talking about the existence of two phenomena that are not tied to each other either theologically or causally, but there is still a meaningful link between them. The concept of time, which is complicated, has become so much more incoherent in this way.
The ‘time’ which is one of the main subjects that the film makers cannot help but write about, lives in different identities. It is also evident that time travel is often prevalent in many films, and it is nourished from the theory of ‘butterfly effect’ that we are talking about. From Kieslowski’s Blind Chance to Run Lola Run which was inspired by that film, and from Back to the Future to Mr. Nobody, we listed 10 film about the butterfly effect for you.
10 Amazing Films About Butterfly Effect!
Blind Chance – 1981
Originally filmed in 1982, Przypadek – Blind Chance was able to meet with the audience in 1987 due to the communist regime in Poland. This film is not as well-known as Kieslowski’s other films but plays an active role in the formation of many of the films’ stories. Witek runs after a train to Warsaw; the film addresses this run of Witek with 3 different stories. A run with 3 different possibilities, the film which tells about how Witek’s rest of life will be shaped, gives the audience a wonderful fiction on three different assumptions; What happens if Witek catches the train? What if Witek cannot catch the train and fights with the cops in the station and goes to jail? What if Witek cannot catch the train and doesn’t have any contact with the cops? Following Witek’s alternative stories; we question the preferences we make in life, and we also remember how the concepts of fate and luck are indispensable. As Kieslowski said; “We never know what is written in our fate. We don’t know what luck hides from us.”
Back to the Future – 1985/89/90
Back to the Future is the first film that comes to mind when we begin to talk about the endless time travel. The main characters are Marty McFly, who is inseparable from his skateboard, and eccentric Dr. Emmett Brown with his white, scattered hair. The classical series in which Emmett Brown time travels from 1985 to 1955, then to 2015, tells us about time and what might happen if we make small changes in time. Just as it is mentioned in the ‘butterfly effect’ theory; we remember that after Marty goes back to the past and meets his own parents when they are young, he gets stuck in the events that lead to him preventing his own birth… Greetings to those who were children in 90’s and believed in the idea “if we had DeLoreans we could time travel”.
Sliding Door – 1998
Sliding Door is a 2001 film which is heavily influenced by Kieslowski’s story Wizek, and nourished from a fiction just like Blind Chance. The film is a successful production based on the timing, fate, and a love triangle, which we assume is what happens to Helen when she misses the subway and what could have happened if she didn’t. The film shows us that we only think meetings as coincidences, and hard decisions, indispensable habits and single-minded lives happen in modern world. It reveals how missing a train by just a few seconds changes a person’s life. ‘Only a moment makes you involved in different lives and different lives becomes one with yours.’ Gwyneth Paltrow has the leading role of the film directed by Peter Howitt.
Run Lola Run – 1998
It is a German film released in the same year as Sliding Door, and it is heavily influenced by Kieslowski’s film, Blind Chance just like Sliding Door. The film Run Lola Run directed by Tom Tykwer, centers around the theme, butterfly effect. The film brings us together with three different stories shaped by three different choices and with Lola, the main character of the story, as she runs through the streets of Berlin. The film goes around the ‘Time-Destiny’ intersection, while it handles the twenty minutes Lola and her boyfriend Mani spend together, in three different ways in eighty minutes. With its story adapted from a 90’s video game and its fiction that has Kieslowski effect, Run Lola Run is one of the most important German films that we should keep in our archive, and its leading actors Moritz Bleibtreu and Franka Potente’s performances capture us.
Happenstance – 2000
Coincidences, love and life… With Audrey Toutou as one of the leading actors of French Cinema, Happenstance (Le battement D’ailes Du Papillion) handles the story in relation to “Butterfly Effect Theory” as we can understand from its name. The film shows how events that seem to be very unrelated and decisions taken and coincidences that occur in daily lives affect other people’s lives beyond one’s own life. The film benefits from the humor we are accustomed to see in French cinema and makes the audience happy with its cozy atmosphere. The film is great for cinema lovers who believing in coincidences.
Donnie Darko – 2001
The story which takes place at the end of 1980’s starts with a 16-year-old young man Donnie Darko seeing some unreal creatures. Especially, the man who is dressed as a rabbit and who constantly encounters Donnie, takes away his “normal” life quickly. For Donnie who has problems with adapting to his environment and who is quite an introvert, the path that he is supposed to follow changes and he takes a dark journey following his guest and being drawn from his family and school. Donnie Darko produced by Richard Kelly who follows the legendary director David Lynch who creates a surreal world in his films where there are unnatural creatures, succeeds in looking at time travel from very different point of view with its wonderful fiction.
The Butterfly Effect – 2004
Evan Treborn is a child with congenital mental problems and can’t fully remember his past bad experiences because of his unstable memory. Evan who is now an adult and hardly ever experiences memory problems leaves his ordinary life behind when he reads his diary of his childhood. Evan who reads his diary and goes back to his childhood memories that were kept in a dark part in his memory actually goes back in time and interferes with some of these events and realizes that somethings aren’t the same as before when he comes back. The film that gets its theme from its name tells us about how a slight change in the past can affect the future just like the flutter of a butterfly in the Amazon forests. While Ashton Kutcher is the leading actor, the film’s directors are Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber.
The Number 23 – 2007
The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey who we are used to seeing in comedy films tells us the story of a man who is obsessed with the number 23. Walter Sparrow being affected by a mysterious novel with a red cover named The Number 23 puts himself and his family in a mysterious time tunnel. This book which Walter is obsessed with leads him into a dark journey where he follows its author. Walter who had to unlock the secrets of his past in order to continue his relationship with his wife Agatha and his son Robin gives the control of his live to the number 23. Walter who starts seeing 23 in his daily life and in his past believes that he can change the future if he can solve the mystery behind this number but in fact every time he gets close to solving this mystery he gets close to his past. The Number 23 which takes a different approach to the concept of time is directed by Joel Schumacher.
Mr. Nobody – 2009
A decision and an infinite number of possibilities… Mr Nobody as Jaco van Dormael’s own words “A high budget experimental film about the infinite possibilities everyone can experience”, is an impressive production with its story and fiction full of mind games. A 117-year-old Némo being the last mortal living in the world in 2092 remembers one of his childhood memories in deathbed. Remembering himself in a platform Némo must make a decision. While the train is about to get off he should decide whether to go with his mother or stay with his father, Némo sees that there is an infinite number of possibilities. It is another production that handles the theory of the butterfly effect with the story of how ‘even the simplest decision we make up to now creates destructions in our destiny and makes radical changes’ while dealing with popular physics theories in a philosophical way.
About Time – 2013
Tim Lake who turns 21 learns that all the men in his family have a hidden ability, they can all time travel and now Tim will be able to use this ability. Having this opportunity, Tim goes back in time and starts changing all the events he regrets. Moving to London shortly after and meeting the love of his life, Tim starts to use his ability to bring a new dimension to his relationships so that every step he takes will be perfect. Starring Rachel McAdams and Domnhall Gleeson and directed by Richard Curtis, About Time tells a story about the concept of time travel and makes the audience happy. It also offers a great feast with its music and wonderful London views.
“I don’t time travel anymore. I just live everyday as if it’s the last day of my extraordinarily ordinary life to enjoy that day.”