I had never seen Donnie Darko, and I just did. I think I have never been so confused after watching a film.

I looked up on the Internet for explanations about the movie, and I found out that in the Director's Cut everything is much clearer and self-contained in the movie, specially due to the showing of some pages of the book Sparrow wrote.

So how is it expected that the public could develop by themselves all that super complex theory about Living Receivers, Artifacts and Tangent Universes? I feel that it's not right that the original movie didn't have these crucial elements in it.

Is it possible to arrive to what appears to be the canonical explanation for the whole plot, without watching the Director's Cut? Does the original film actually make sense by itself?

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    The original cut of the film still contained enough material regarding 'The Philosophy Of Time Travel' to allow viewers (including myself, as I did not like the directors cut due to the over abundance of exposition) to make sense of the time travel plot, something that was rewarded through repeated viewings - although I am sure someone will beat me to the punch your question is so intriguing I am now going to re - watch the film in order to provide an objective answer. – Stephen Francis Aug 20 '18 at 8:44
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    The original film makes sense, but it's probably not possible (or indeed necessary) to derive all this Living Receivers stuff. Compare e.g. Star Trek, where you can enjoy and understand what's going on without having access to the writers guide. – OrangeDog Aug 20 '18 at 10:04
  • The actual answer, sadly, is probably opinion-based, depending primarily on how much detail needs to have been conveyed for the movie to "make sense." Personally, I'm with OrangeDog - I may not have gotten the terminology about Living Receivers et al, but I definitely understood that it was some kind of time travel/alternate realty situation, and why he made the decision he did in the end. I got enough that I understood "what happened," but others may understandably disagree. – Steve-O Aug 20 '18 at 13:41

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