ByNarcis Nachos Radoi, writer at

One of my favorite movies of all time is Donnie Darko.

There are a lot of weird things going on in that movie, but it's amazing. However, a lot of my friends have watched it and did not understand the film. The music in the film is still amazing regardless.

I believe the director/producer of this film Richard Kelly could have made it a lot clearer to everyone if he included one simple thing in the film: the book that Donnie Darko reads "The Philosophy of Time Travel"

This book actually explains the film and everything that is happening - so have a look at it, then watch the film again and you will understand it completely as well as learn to appreciate it for the genius film that it is.

It's actually recommended to read the book after you watched the film if you haven't seen it before, to make sure you get the full experience. There are no spoilers in the book, however things from it will not make much sense.

If the director just included the book as a short spoken narrative for example, when Donnie Darko gets the book from his teacher, or even shown some parts with flashbacks rather then not featuring any part of it at all in the film, the experience of the viewer would increase tenfold.

The book is described below

The Philosophy of Time Travel

Roberta Sparrow

These are the pages from the fictional book "The Philosophy of Time Travel" by Roberta Sparrow . The text in these pages are crucial to understanding the movie and the rules within the Tangent Universe.


I would like to thank the sisters of the Saint John Chapel in Alexandria, Virginia for their support in my decision. By the grace of God, they are:
Sister Eleanor Lewis
Sister Francesca Godiani
Sister Helen Davis
Sister Catherine Arnold
Sister Mary Lee Pond
Sister Virginia Wessex
This intent of this short book is for it to be used as a simple and direct guide in a time of great danger.
I pray that this is merely a work of fiction.
If it is not, then I pray for you, the reader of this book.
If I am still alive when the events foretold in these pages occur, then I hope that you will find me before it is too late.
Roberta Ann Sparrow
October, 1944

Chapter One:

The Tangent Universe

The Primary Universe is fraught with great peril. War, plague, famine and natural disaster are common.
Death comes to us all. The Fourth Dimension of Time is a stable construct, though it is not impenetrable.
Incidents when the fabric of the fourth dimension becomes corrupted are incredibly rare.
If a Tangent Universe occurs, it will be highly unstable, sustaining itself for no longer than several weeks.
Eventually it will collapse upon itself, forming a black hole within the Primary Universe capable of destroying all existence.

Chapter Two:

Water And Metal

Water and Metal are the key elements of Time Travel.
Water is the barrier element for the construction of Time Portals used as gateways between Universes as the Tangent Vortex.
Metal is the transitional element for the construction of Artifact Vessels.

Chapter Four:

The Artifact And The Living

When a Tangent Universe occurs, those living nearest to the Vortex, will find themselves at the epicenter of a dangerous new world.
Artifacts provide the first sign that a Tangent Universe has occurred.
If an Artifact occurs, the Living will retrieve it with great interest and curiosity.
Artifacts are formed from metal, such as an Arrowhead from an ancient Mayan civilization, or a Metal Sword from Medieval Europe.
Artifacts returned to the Primary Universe are often linked to religious Iconography, as their appearance on Earth seems to defy logical explanation.
Divine intervention is deemed the only logical conclusion for the appearance of the Artifact.

Chapter Six:

The Living Receiver

The Living Receiver is chosen to guide the Artifact into position for its journey back to the Primary Universe.
No one knows how or why a Receiver will be chosen.
The Living Receiver is often blessed with a Fourth Dimensional Powers.
These include increased strength, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to conjure fire and water.
The Living Receiver is often tormented by terrifying dreams, visions and auditory hallucinations during his time within the Tangent Universe.
These surrounding the Living Receiver, known as the Manipulated, will fear him and try to destroy him.

Chapter Seven:

The Manipulated Living

The Manipulated Living are often the close friends and neighbors of the Living Receiver.
They are prone to irrational, bizarre, and often violent behavior.
This is the unfortunate result of their task, which is to assist the Living Receiver in returning the Artifact to the Primary Universe.
The Manipulated Living will do anything to save themselves from Oblivion.

Chapter Nine:

Ensurance Trap

The Manipulated Dead will set an Ensurance Trap.
The Living Receiver must ensure the fate of all mankind.

Chapter Ten:

The Manipulated Dead

The Manipulated Dead are more powerful than the Living Receiver. If a person dies within the Tangent Dimension, they are able to contact the Living Receiver through the Fourth Dimensional Construct.
The Fourth Dimensional Construct is made of Water.
The Manipulated Dead will manipulate the Living Receiver using the Fourth Dimensional Construct (see Appendix A and B).
The Manipulated Dead will often set an Ensurance Trap for the Living Receiver to ensure that the Artifact is returned safely to the Primary Universe.
If the Ensurance Trap is successful, the Living Receiver is left with no choice but to use his Fourth Dimensional Power to send the Artifact back in time into the Primary Universe before the Black hole collapses upon itself.

Chapter Twelve:


When the Manipulated awaken from their Journey into the Tangent Universe, they are often haunted by the experience in their dreams.
Many of them will not remember.
Those who do remember the Journey are often overcome with profound remorse for the regretful actions buried within their Dreams, the only physical evidence buried within the Artifact itself, all that remains from the lost world.
Ancient myth tells us of the Mayan Warrior killed by an Arrowhead that had fallen from a cliff, where there was no Army, no enemy to be found.
We are told of the Medieval Knight mysteriously impaled by sword he had not yet built.
We are told that these things occur for a reason.


Living Receiver
Donnie Darko

Manipulated Dead
Frank Anderson
Gretchen Ross

Manipulated Living
Edward Darko
Rose Darko
Elizabeth Darko
Samantha Darko
Katherine Farmer
Elisabeth Farmer
Jim Cunningham
Kenneth Monnitoff
Karen Pomeroy
Larry Cole
Cherita Chen
Seth Devlin
Ricky Danforth
Joanie James
Susan Bates
Susan Bailey
Sean Smith
Leroy Jones Carter
Linda Connie
Roberta Sparrow

There are countless discussions that are started based on the book and the film, with everyone having different opinions on the meaning of things in the film.

What is your opinion? Leave a comment below and let me know...


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