91

Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Kelly, the 26-year-old writer-director of this excitingly original indie vision, shares more artistically with Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson than he does with Spielberg or John Hughes, but the point is, he's out on his own here. He swings big -- with flair.
Full Review
88

TV Guide

By Maitland McDonagh
David Lynch lite.
Full Review
88

Washington Post

By Desson Thomson
Appealingly, the movie has a certain lightness -- like the aforementioned butterfly -- which makes its foreboding qualities surprisingly user-friendly.
Full Review
80

Mr. Showbiz

By Michael Atkinson
The nerviest, oddest, most outlandish and idiosyncratic American indie debut since "Buffalo 66," Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko defies description.
Full Review
75

New York Post

By Lou Lumenick
Most experienced filmmakers wouldn't even attempt a film that's so blackly funny, that so rapidly shifts genres and tone, and that layers late '80s cultural references so thickly, from "E.T." to Smurfs.
Full Review
63

Boston Globe

The debut feature from 26-year-old director Richard Kelly 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
63

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Donnie Darko is the one that got away. But it was fun trying to land it.
Full Review
60

New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman
The flaws are more than balanced out by the risks the earnest Kelly encourages his excellent cast to take.
Full Review
50

San Francisco Chronicle

By Bob Graham
If this movie ever figured out what it wanted to be when it grows up, it would be a terrific one.
Full Review
38

Chicago Tribune

By Michael Wilmington
Just another self-absorbed teen chronicle, with the added twist of a little time travel and a surprise ending.
Full Review
71 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.