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Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Maggie Gyllenhaal ... see more see more... , Drew Barrymore , Patrick Swayze , Katharine Ross , James Duval , Noah Wyle , Daveigh Chase , Beth Grant , Arthur Taxier , Stuart Stone , David St. James , Gary Lundy , Ashley Tisdale , Jolene Purdy , Seth Rogen

Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark and willfully eccentric side; he does little to mask his contempt for many of his peers and enjoys challenging... read more read more... the authority of the adults around him. Donnie is also visited on occasion by Frank, a monstrous six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see who often urges him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks. Late one night, Frank leads Donnie out of his home to inform him that the world will come to an end in less than a month; moments later, the engine of a jet aircraft comes crashing through the ceiling of Donnie's room, making him think there might be something to Frank's prophesies after all. The rest of Donnie's world is only marginally less bizarre, as he finds himself dealing with his confused parents (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne), his college-age sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal), his perplexed analyst (Katherine Ross), a rebellious English teacher (Drew Barrymore), a sleazy self-help expert (Patrick Swayze), and the new girl at school who is attracted by Donnie's quirks (Jena Malone). Donnie Darko was the first feature film from writer and director Richard Kelly; Drew Barrymore, who plays teacher Karen Pomeroy, also lent her support to the project as executive producer. A director's cut played in select theaters on a limited basis in the summer of 2004, featuring original music cues and trimmed scenes originally in Kelly's first cut of the film. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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80% liked it

30,976,038 ratings


85% liked it

108 critics

DVD Release Date: March 19, 2002

Stats: 871,188 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (871,188)

  • April 18, 2014
    Incredible movie, completely underrated. Donnie Darko is the most unlikely hero of the small town of Middlesex in this amazing, original film. It may require more than one viewing to understand it. I highly recommend watching the director's cut.
  • January 28, 2014
    I'm not sure what I'm supposed to come away from Donnie Darko with, I would say that this is a very clever film, or a very clueless one.
    ( I Think) When it begins everything that follows for the next hundred minutes has happened already. That's one way to look at it. Another way... read more would be to see it as pure surrealism like John Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness or David Lynch's Mullholland Dr. Such films are conundrums, but the question is whether or not you are capable of watching a movie that leaves you frustrated intentionally. If surrealism is your thing, you will probably have luck with Donnie Darko. It is a good one for a movie goer.
    Up until the climax, we are led to believe that this is a film about a young suburban middle- class boy (Donnie) who has schizophrenia and one night envisions a large satanic looking rabbit (the anti-Harvey) to tells him to do some pretty bad things if he wants to survive the end of the world in 28 days, something hours and something seconds.
    The people in this film are weird, though not as much so as Mulholland Dr. (In part because the acting here is more toned down, usually) One could argue though that there are too many characters. Some of the screen time that is dedicated to the supporting cast could have gone to Donnies story, which is more important. His conversations with Frank (the rabbit) are intriguing but they are too short and too few.
    The climax is one that takes Donnie Darko and turns it inside out. There is no literal resolution to the thriller side of Donnie Darko, only what the viewer chooses to make of it. Is it a great movie? no, but its partial originality and evocative direction are enough to make it worth a watch. 1/2 Star 1-15-2004 (Updated)
  • fb619846742
    December 25, 2013
    A wickedly smart, savvy supernatural thriller from the mind of one-hit wonderkid Richard Kelly about a mentally disturbed boy (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is harassed by a demonic bunny rabbit who says the end of the world is coming in 28 days. This has been heralded by many as a phenom... read moreenal film, attaining a cult following over the years, and it lives up to its reputation with a plot designed by an absolute genius of a writer and director in Kelly. Gyllenhaal's perfect performance is the major driving force behind this film, being that his character is brutally honest in addition to being severely troubled and confused, which makes him a character that is easy to empathize with. The end of the film is a head-scratcher to be sure, but once you figure out all the nitty, gritty details, it is hard not to be in awe of how creative it is. Probably one of my favorite films to watch again and gain, it is hard not to love its subversive take on 80's culture and the basic family structure in addition to its insane, ultimately brilliant storyline.
  • fb100000293612769
    December 4, 2013
    A triumph in cinema. One of the best, most original films I have ever seen. Wonderfully crafted, and exceptionally written and acted, Donnie Darko is both an exploration of suburban life and how it can be challenged, as well as an exploration into philosophy, science, and God. Ja... read moreke Gyllenhaal steals the show, but is supported by a talented cast. Director Kelly is brilliant, especially in delivering some now-iconic sequences (the "Head Over Heels" and "Mad World" scenes) and in producing a thrilling, dark, and even funny teenage science-fiction film, one that transcends the clichés and flaws of all other films of its genre. Possibly one of the best films made in the last several decades. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
  • April 23, 2013
    I watched this mainly for Jake :D
    My he was really good in here.
    Thought the movie was a bit messed up. It was a bit complicated for my taste.
  • March 24, 2013
    The story is a solid psychological thriller that comes together by the end, for the most part. My biggest problem with this film is that you have to subscribe to its strange premise revolving around time travel and tangent universes. It is hard to buy into that world and watch th... read moree film through that lens, but that is the only real way to enjoy this movie. I like watching movies through my own lens, a lens that made this movie look a little murky.
  • October 12, 2012
    Donnie Darko is a gripping psychological thriller that boasts an incredible performance from Gyllenhaal as well as fantastic direction and storytelling.
  • October 7, 2012
    'Donnie Darko' is a film full of such potency and intrigue that it keeps you glued. The plot never lets up, the acting is solid all around, and the soundtrack is immaculate. Following in the similar steps of 'Fight Club', the film creates an atmosphere and tone so unique that it ... read morebegs for a cult following. It almost proves to be more than a film, it could aspire closer towards philosophy. 'Donnie Darko' reminds us that there is still meaningful filmmaking every now and then.
  • July 30, 2012
    don't forget swayze in this!!
  • March 19, 2012

Critic Reviews

Lisa Alspector
June 8, 2007
Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader

Kelly is a supple and courageous storyteller, boldly free-associating as he mixes parody and satire with earnest psychodrama and coming up with plot points no one could anticipate. Full Review

Todd McCarthy
June 8, 2007
Todd McCarthy, Variety

Donnie Darko has plenty of problems. But most stem from a young filmmaker overswinging on his first time up to the plate and hitting a deep fly out rather than a home run. Full Review

Loren King
January 25, 2002
Loren King, Boston Globe

Shows plenty of promise, but it's somewhat self-involved and won't appeal to audiences who like a straightforward -- even if fantastical -- narrative. Full Review

Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 6, 2001
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

Excitingly original indie vision. Full Review

Andrew O'Hehir
October 31, 2001
Andrew O'Hehir,

A stunning technical accomplishment that virtually bursts with noise, ideas and references. Full Review

Melanie McFarland
October 26, 2001
Melanie McFarland, Seattle Times

First-time director-writer Richard Kelly draws on a number of intriguing elements ... without including a single, crucial gem that pulls everything together. Full Review

Bob Graham
October 26, 2001
Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle

If this movie ever figured out what it wanted to be when it grows up, it would be a terrific one. Full Review

Michael Atkinson
October 26, 2001
Michael Atkinson, Mr. Showbiz

A captivating dark vision. Full Review

Lou Lumenick
October 26, 2001
Lou Lumenick, New York Post

An engaging, time-tripping Holden Caulfield.

Roger Ebert
October 26, 2001
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

This set-up and development is fascinating, the payoff less so. Full Review

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    • Frank: Come... closer.
    • Donnie Darko: First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario - It just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have reproductive organs under those little white pants. That's what's so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. What's the point of living... if you don't have a dick?
    • Donnie Darko: If God Controlled time, then the time is pre-decided
    • Donnie Darko: I just hope, that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief... because there will be so much to look forward to.
    • Kitty Farmer: I'll tell you what he said. He asked me to forcibly insert the lifeline exercise card into my anus.
    • Frank: I've been watching you. Come closer.

Donnie Darko : Watch Free on TV

Donnie Darko Trivia

  • Which actor played the part of Donnie in Donnie Darko?  Answer »
  • What name do these all share? The name of the dog on Men In Black. Tom Cruise's name in Magnolia. The name of the bunny in Donnie Darko.  Answer »
  • What actor played Donnie's older sister in Donnie Darko?  Answer »
  • In "Donnie Darko" what goes after this dialogue "Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit"?  Answer »

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