Life Lessons

5 Lessons From Donnie Darko


Donnie Darko is one of my all time favourite films. Why? Well, it’s so uncanny- having the perfect blend of drama and science fiction: a one-of-a-kind cult classic that will be remembered for a long time to come. I hope you enjoy these 5 lessons from Donnie Darko.

Once the credits rolled, so much was left to audience speculation that countless online communities have been formed in the film’s wake, with the sole purpose of deciphering every single possibility for the many obscure actions, motifs and portions of dialogue that Donnie Darko comfortably envelopes in just under 2 hours.

Since there’s already so much out there, and I’ve done my fair share of reading and discussing these elusive subjects- this article will instead delve into 5 everyday things I learnt from Donnie Darko.

It’s not that difficult to ask a girl out

Donnie Darko You Wanna Go With Me
“You wanna go with me?”

In fact all you really have to do is ask her out… apparently. Well, after a few blocks of walking and offering some random conversation about crazy family issues, how you may be a superhero, and the greatest invention ever to benefit mankind. Smooth.

Donnie surprised me in this scene. He’s always so far away from the rest of the world that I found it interesting that he was even able to connect with anyone on any level- for real.  But I guess Gretchen being an outsider in his home town made it easier to connect with her. Anyway, she agrees to go with him just like that. Win!

People who may have the biggest impact on your life can often be found in the most unlikely places.

"Sit next to the boy you think is the cutest."
“Sit next to the boy you think is the cutest.”

There are many subtle gestures from what can only be referred to as peripheral characters. These include mainly Donnie’s English teacher, Karen Pomeroy, his science professor, Kenneth Monnitoff, as well as his classmate Cherita Chen.

I have to note the sharp difference between English and Science, and how, despite this each of these characters play equally important roles in Donnie’s development.

In the universe of the film these characters are known as The Manipulated Living and supposedly lead Donnie to his ultimate destiny. Even without the freaky name, it’s not too difficult to see that these individuals do bring about change in Donnie’s character- each in their own particular way.

It’s okay to be indecisive

"Fear and Love are the deepest of human emotions."
“Fear and Love are the deepest of human emotions.”

Probably my favourite scene in the entire movie has got to be where Donnie loses his shit over the love- fear continuum, or The Life line as it’s called.

Screw that, go ahead and make mistakes… and make the same mistakes over again. Do something bad, it doesn’t make you evil.

Donnie loses his cool in class, exclaiming how life isn’t that simple, and one cannot simply place everything into two categories without considering the entire spectrum of human emotion.

I know the feel, bro.

It’s okay to stand up for what you believe in

"I think you're the f#@%ing Antichrist."
“I think you’re the f#@%ing Antichrist.”

Even if everyone thinks that you’re bat shit crazy! Heck, even if you call the town celebrity, Jim Cunningham (played by the late, great Patrick Swayze) the Antichrist! Preposterous, right?

Well, it turns out Donnie was right about him, if being the Antichrist involves having a ton of kid porn found at your house. So next time you have a bad feeling about something or someone, just be honest about it- perhaps not hostile, but honest.  That’s important.

You can never go too far

"Wake up, Donnie."
“Wake up, Donnie.”

Besides being the epic tagline for the entire film. That is, Donnie’s Alice-in-Wonderland-like journey to whatever- this is somewhat motivational as Donnie is in essence a tragic hero. At the end of the day, he makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe (for those of you who missed that).

I 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. 

Bonus lesson:

Old Spice is the aftershave of choice for men who save the world. Nuf said.

"Smell like a man, man."
“Smell like a man, man.”

About the author: Stephen is a weird guy who zones out alot and wears a rabbit suit on the weekend. Also an aspiring filmmaker, writer and wannabe HBO producer. Ah one day, one day.


Editor-in-Chief at BTG Lifestyle. For cinema.


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