Donnie Darko: What’s It Really About?

We dig into the deeper meaning behind Richard Kelly’s cult classic Donnie Darko, starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal.

Friends, it’s that time of year. The weather is getting colder, the nights are getting spookier, and my watchlist is getting weirder. Among the classics for Halloween movie nights is Richard Kelly’s directorial debut that both shocked attendees of Sundance in 2001, as well as risen to the ranks of the coveted title “Cult Classic” in the more than 20 years since it was made. It’s a movie that resonates with teenagers on a level that few movies have in the past couple of decades and on its own it stands as a crowd-pleasing adventure that is sure to intrigue you as much as it confuses you. I’m talking, of course, about the time traveling, water bending, and deliciously disturbing story of Donnie Darko

Ah, Donnie Darko.

When I was 13 or 14, my English teacher on this movie on for our class on the last day of school, and I don’t remember why he did that, but I do remember that this movie REALLY made an impression on me. I borrowed the movie from a friend that night and watched it again. Most of my intrigue came from the incredibly complex plot mixed with the feeling of a John Hughes movie gone emo. It was exactly what 14-year-old me was into. And in the years since, I’ve seen this movie at least once a year and many times more than that- and every time I’ve tried to describe this movie to someone who hasn’t seen it, I’ve found myself romanticizing the movies tone and angsty mood over the deeper themes and overall plot- and that’s because, as we all know, this is one of those movies that you kind of just have to see.

While we’ve already dug into the movie’s making with WTF Happened to Donnie Darko, in this video we’re digging a little deeper, into the movie’s themes and meaning. So, today’s episode is going to be a dark trip down memory lane as we re-awaken my inner-teenager and figure out once and for all- What’s Donnie Darko Really About?

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