The Butterfly Effect

Plot hole: When Evan is in jail with the religious prisoner trying to get him to help him get his journals back he goes to the scene where he is drawing that homicidal picture in kindergarten, but he gets up and puts the spikes that holds documents through his hands, creating a stigmata-style scar. The religious guy in the cell with him is so amazed because of this he thinks Evan is a prophet and he decides to help him. If Evan had gone back in time and got those scars on his hands, he would have changed the original timeline and would have arrived in jail with those scars the whole time. Some people try to correct this using the "If I can create scars, then can I fix them?" statement Evan made to defend the mistake and suggest he can create instant scars but he was using the word "scars" to refer to the negative events; not literal scars on his body. The scar he got when he burned himself in the past didn’t magically appear on him the moment he returned from the past; it became part of a new, slightly altered timeline (just like the scars on his hands should have been) and it let him know he can change history.

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Suggested correction: This isn't necessarily a correction so much as a possible explanation. It's possible that the religious inmate (I think his name was Carlos) just simply didn't see the scars on Evan's hands when he first came to the prison in the timeline where he got the scars or Evan knew to hide them in the scar timeline (due to the fact that it was the sole purpose of him going back) and due to his fanaticism he didn't question him a second time.

Nope, after jamming those things in his hands Evan simply came into the prison with the scars already on his hands and would have never thought of showing the religious guy his powers using that particular moment in the past to convince him, or doing what he did a second time as he already had done it. It doesn't matter if the religious guy didn't see them before, they won't be the object of Evan convincing him. He would have had to try it some other way, each and ever time. That how this time travel works and its definitely a plot hole that it worked as it did, whilst it shouldn't have. Of course, it's a time travel movie and they never make sense.


Additionally, the inmate was looking at Evan's palms when Evan traveled back, and when he returned to the present, the inmate remarked that the stigmata marks came out of nowhere.


Continuity mistake: When Evan tries to get his journals back from the bullies in the jail, the object that the guy on the bed is reading alternates from a closed copy of Hustler, to a journal and back several times. (01:18:35 - 01:19:20)


Continuity mistake: When Evan and his mom go to the psychic for a reading, the position of the money in the glass bowl differs depending on camera angle. (Director's cut) (00:40:30)

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: When Ashton Kutcher convinces his jail bunkmate that he is personally in touch with Jesus, by using his journal to cause stigmata to appear on his hands, a stigmata mark can be seen in his right palm before he changes the past (just as he mumbles "tell me if you see anything weird"). (01:17:05)

Continuity mistake: In the final shot of the hypnosis scene we see Evan from above. The blood on his shirt that was visible in the last shot has vanished.

Plot hole: When the frat boy bursts into Evan and Kayleigh's romantic dinner to tell him his car's been trashed, he says he's been looking all over for Evan. But he was sitting right there watching the whole time Even was giving the pledges their instructions for helping him set up the romantic dinner (which necessarily included the exact time and place), so shouldn't he have known where Evan would be?

Revealing mistake: In the scene where Evan wakes up and notices that he has no arms, right when you see the stubs you can see a faint shadow moving next to his head and moving on the headboard. This shadow is the shadow of his hand before it was digitally removed. (00:29:15)


Continuity mistake: After little Kayleigh picks up the blockbuster, older Evan is now at Sunnyvale Institution. The blankets are not tucked under the mattress, then they are tucked when he gets out of bed, and in the shot from under the bed, as he searches for his journals, the blankets hang down to the floor, yet in the next shot they are not.

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: At Sunnyvale, when Evan bursts into Dr. Redfield's office the Doctor stands up and in the wide shot Dr. Redfield starts to put his books down on the desk, but the way he holds the books differs in the next close-up.

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: When Evan wakes up in a mental ward, after he killed Kaylee, the camera zooms around him in bed, which is in the middle of the room. When he gets up to get his journals, the bed is on the left side of the room against the wall.

Continuity mistake: Now a resident at Sunnyvale, when Evan looks under his bed for his journals, in the shot from under the mattress the blood stains that appear on his white tee differ from the stain in the shots before and after.

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: As the teacher and mom walk by the desk, one of the pink papers is not fully impaled on the spike, but a moment later it is. (00:03:45)


The Butterfly Effect mistake picture

Continuity mistake: After Evan beats Tommy to death on the college campus, it shows him kneeling over the body, and there is no blood on his collar. The shot changes to Kayleigh screaming, then back to Evan, in the same position, but now with blood splatter on his collar. He had already finished assaulting Tommy, so there shouldn't have been anymore blood spray. (01:09:25)


Continuity mistake: When Evan shows up at Kayleigh's apartment, in the close-up she covers the plate with the newspaper. In the next shot from the doorway the newspaper, bottled water, etc., are positioned very differently. (01:29:35)

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: When armless Evan goes back, the journal, cereal bowl and OJ are visible in a close-up and in the next shot young Evan rushes away from the table. The position of the journal is quite different in the two shots. (01:44:45)

Super Grover

Revealing mistake: Although the film is supposedly set in New York, there is a Canadian speed limit sign in one of the first shots. Across the street which Evan lives on.

Continuity mistake: As Evan eats the burger at the Hilltop Cafe, the bit of burger left in his hand after his last bite differs in the next shot as he puts it down. (01:27:25)

Super Grover

Continuity mistake: When older, armless Evan is sitting in his wheelchair reading the journal entry that says, "Today Mommy is taking me to play with Kayleigh and Tommy." the writing appears to be on the bottom of the journal page. Yet when he goes back to that time, the writing is at the top of the page just as it was in the original scene earlier in the movie. (00:05:30 - 01:44:35)

The Butterfly Effect mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Evan gets his first nosebleed, during the hypnosis session, the blood on his face changes quite a bit as shots change while the doctor is trying to wake him up. One shot shows two streams of blood, another shows only one, and yet another shows hardly any blood at all. (00:18:00)

Dr. Redfield: Just think of your mind as a movie, you can pause, rewind or slow down any details you want.

More quotes from The Butterfly Effect

Trivia: An alternate ending to the film on the DVD Director's cut has Evan going back to when he was in the womb and killing himself by squeezing the umbilical cord to save his friends from events he may cause.

Nick N.

More trivia for The Butterfly Effect

Question: I'm guessing that Evan can travel back to "memories" an infinite amount of times as he has been to the junkyard and the basement memories at least twice, but what I don't get is why, after he saw the horrible repercussions of giving Lenny the shard which led to the psychotic brother's death, why didn't Evan just NOT give Lenny the shard, but still give the bro the moving motivational speech that made him rethink the burning of the dog? Then the dog would be safe and the bro wouldn't be killed traumatically, damaging Kaylee? Why didn't he keep that bit that seemed to work out, but not give Lenny the weapon?

Answer: The point of the movie was that, no matter what he did and how he tried to change things, they always ended up bad. If he went back and did that, something unforseen would have happened to make things terrible. Evan realized that everything bad that happened to them was because of him. He then decided the only safe way to make things right is if he just took himself out of their lives all together. That's the logic the filmmakers went by, if you don't want to accept that, then you will just have to consider it a plot hole.

More questions & answers from The Butterfly Effect

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