Donnie Darko: Nobody Understands It Except Me


Donnie Darko (2001)
Written & Directed by Richard Kelly
113 min. (Original Cut)
133 min. (Director’s Cut)

Spoilers ahead.

The first time I saw this movie, I hated it. Or rather, I hated where it ended up. I appreciated the journey, but not the destination. God damn does it wrap up in a cheese ball way. That ‘Mad World’ montage? Jena Malone’s and Donnie’s mother staring at each other? Man did that shit bug me. So much so that for a while I wrote off the entire movie as bad.

But then, here and there, I’d think about the parts I liked and want to watch it again. And each time I’d re-watch, I’d like the movie a bit more. But that ending remained a sticking point. It always made me cringe.

I can’t remember exactly when I came to the realization that the ending is supposed to make you cringe from its cheesiness—and that Donnie laughing in bed is meant to be him laughing at the cheesy resolution—but once I did, god damn. Fireworks in the brain. What a movie. Five stars.
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