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This is about the scene in Donnie Darko where Karen (English teacher) and Monnitoff (Science teacher) have this conversation:

Monnitoff: Donnie Darko.
Karen: I know.

Both of them laugh afterwards.

The scene seems out of place to me. What exactly about Donnie Darko are they talking about? Does this have anything to do with the film's science fiction concepts (the Living Receiver, the Manipulated Living, etc)? Or is it about something more mundane? What is the scene or dialog's significance to the plot of the film?

  • 4
    It doesn't seem so much "disapproving" of him, rather that they both agree that Donnie's at least a "special" kid, but not necessarily in a negative way, I think. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 28 '15 at 13:13
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I've never thought the tone in that scene was disapproving so much as it is knowing. Both teachers have had interesting interactions with Donnie, and they both know something is up with that kid. I've wondered if they each suspected that Donnie was involved in the vandalism at the school earlier in the film, but that's reading a lot into a scene with only four words of dialogue.

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I believe this scene goes hand in hand with the theory of Manipulated living and Monnitoff and Karen might know some things about what is going on.

Manipulated living

The fact that these two people make significant contributions in how the plot unfolds can be read together with this.

Actions by Karen

  • Seating Gretchen next to Donnie, so they will end up together
  • Writing Cellar Door on the blackboard

Actions by Monnitoff

  • He gives Donnie the book The philosophy of time travel (which is not a recommended book to learn about time travel) (and asks him to keep it a secret).
  • When Donnie is talking about the "Channels" of time travel with his Science teacher, and begins to really figure it out, his teacher says to him, "I'm not able to continue this conversation.

Some of these actions that seems trivial is turning out to be some of the most important things in the storyline. So my inference is either these people are guiding Donnie to what he should do or because of the number of times the time loop has happened, some of the manipulated living remember the correct decisions and do them subconsciously. This scene also goes along with that hypothesis.

together in end

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