How well do you know Donnie Darko?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

Rising stars, veteran actors, great music and an ambiguous ending -- "Donnie Darko" had it all. Forget about deciding what it all meant; instead, test your recall of this 2001 movie with our quiz!

"Darko" is Donnie's ______.

Donnie's new girlfriend comments that it sounds like "a superhero name." Donnie's response is "How do you know I'm not?"


Who played Elizabeth, Donnie's older sister?

The Gyllenhaals acted opposite each other -- playing younger brother and older sister -- in "Donnie Darko." The Gyllenhaals are a Hollywood family. Their father is a director, and their mother is a screenwriter.


The creepy rabbit who appears to Donnie is named what?

The appearance of a giant rabbit in Donnie's room might remind some people of "Harvey." But "Frank" is nowhere near as cute -- frankly, he's disturbing-looking.


According to Frank, in how many days is the world going to end?

Frank is very specific: 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. Donnie wakes up to find the numbers written on his arm, in a wobbly handwriting unlike his own.


What happens the night Donnie follows Frank outside?

By leading Donnie outside, Frank the rabbit saves his life. The jet engine landed directly on Donnie's bed.


Karen Pomeroy, played by Drew Barrymore, teaches what subject?

Karen Pomeroy was played by Drew Barrymore. Barrymore championed the quirky script, and her production company, Flower Films, produced it.


Who does Ms. Pomeroy suggest new student Gretchen sit next to in English class?

Honestly, this puts a lot of pressure on Gretchen -- the entire class is watching to see who she'll choose. But Gretchen handles it with aplomb and chooses to sit next to Donnie.


What short story is Donnie's English class reading?

This Graham Greene story is about young people who destroy an old house and burn the money they find inside. Donnie says the story shows destruction to be an act of creation, but teaching it gets Ms. Pomeroy in trouble.


What nickname have kids given Roberta Sparrow?

It's not clear what exactly inspired the nickname. But her raddled white hair, gauntness, and senility do make her look like a harbinger of death.


What does Roberta Sparrow wait for every day?

"Grandma Death" spend lots of time outside, and frequently looks inside her empty mailbox. However, given her theories about quantum physics, we can't swear she isn't waiting on the end of the world as well.


What Middlesex Ridge School's mascot?

Early on, we see the words "Go Mongrels" written in dust on a school bus door. Later, while acting under Frank's direction, Donnie embeds an ax in a statue of the Mongrel. This is important because it shouldn't have been physically possible -- leading to fan theories that Donnie has superhuman strength that will help him fulfill his destiny.


What trauma is Gretchen living with?

Gretchen opens up about her troubled history to Donnie, who is sympathetic. The school's bullies aren't as kind, harassing her about it during a science class.


How does Donnie ask Gretchen to be his girlfriend?

At first, Gretchen doesn't understand the low-key term. Donnie explains that he's asking her to be his girlfriend: "That's how we say it, here," he explains, sheepishly.


What is the name of Samantha Darko's dance troupe?

This is a very 80s kind of name -- which is appropriate, given that the movie is set in 1988. Or maybe it's evergreen: Little girls are never going to stop liking things that sparkle.


In what field does Jim Cunningham work?

Everyone in Donnie's town (all the adults, at least) are enthralled with Jim Cunningham's message, which is about all human behavior falling on a spectrum between fear and love. Donnie finds this oversimplified and stupid.


What therapeutic technique does Dr. Thurman try with Donnie?

Donnie is already taking medication for his mental problems. But Dr. Thurman tries hypnosis as well, during which Donnie opens up about his sexuality and about his encounters with Frank.


Uptight gym teacher Mrs. Farmer also serves in what role?

Kitty Farmer's daughter is in Sparkle Motion. Nonetheless, she makes Samantha Darko the lead dancer in their talent-show routine -- about which Kitty will pointedly remind Rose Darko.


Donnie finds a wallet on a residential street. Why is this significant?

When Donnie finds Jim's wallet in the street, Frank's disembodied voice whispers, "Now you know where he lives." Well, true -- but how does Frank know? Couldn't Jim's wallet just have fallen out of his fanny pack at random while he was jogging?


What did Roberta Sparrow/Grandma Death do earlier in life?

Roberta Sparrow taught at Donnie's Catholic School before leaving to write about her theories of time travel. Maybe we're shallow, but if we had a name as cool as "Sister Sparrow," we wouldn't change jobs -- no matter what we believed about quantum physics.


What movie do Donnie and Gretchen go see?

Actually, Gretchen sleeps through the movie, and Donnie spends it first talking to Frank, then leaving the theater to carry out a mission for Frank. So much for respecting a cult classic!


When Donnie asks Frank, "Why do you wear that stupid rabbit suit?" what does Frank say?

Nonetheless, Frank does remove his rabbit mask. Underneath, he is a handsome young man, but he's missing an eye.


To whose house does Donnie set fire?

This is the payoff to Donnie learning where Jim lives. He slips out during "The Evil Dead" and torches the inspirational speaker's house, leading to a bizarre discovery.


What do firefighters find in Jim Cunningham's house?

That's actually how the script puts it, more than once: "a child porn dungeon." But why is pornography kept in a dungeon? Did Jim chain up the books and pictures?


What does Donnie see protruding from his own and others' chests?

The movie's director, Richard Kelly, said he got the idea from watching John Madden use a telestrator, on which Madden drew players' future movements on a TV screen. The trails also resemble the "silver cord" that sometimes comes up in New Age beliefs, like about astral projection.


Where does Donnie's silver trail lead him?

Yes, Donnie's parents keep a gun in their bedroom. As Chekhov said about guns, they have to go off by the third act.


What opportunity do the girls of Sparkle Motion get?

"Star Search" was a televised talent show hosted by Ed McMahon back in the 1980s. It might seem cheesy now, but it was the forerunner of today's "The Voice" and "So You Think You Can Dance."


What does Ms. Pomeroy say is the most beautiful combination of words in the English language?

Ms. Pomeroy is slightly misquoting the "famous linguist" she cites. JRR Tolkien (who was a linguist as well as a novelist) just said that divorced from its meaning, the combination "cellar door" is lovely.


Why do Donnie and Elizabeth throw a Halloween party?

Elizabeth's college application comes up early in the film. She doesn't find out she was accepted until close to the end. Because both their parents are away, they decide to celebrate.


In the end, why is Frank wearing the rabbit costume?

Frank was at the Halloween party that Donnie and Elizabeth hosted. In fact, Frank is Elizabeth's boyfriend -- a connection that isn't obvious in the shorter theatrical cut of the film. It's hinted at when Elizabeth asks someone at the party, "Where's Frank?" and is told he went to get beer.


What kind of car does Frank drive?

It's the red Trans Am that runs over Gretchen at Roberta Sparrow's house. Grief and rage cause Donnie to shoot Frank, fulfilling the prophecy: Frank's world does, indeed, end in 28 days.


What song plays during the "restored reality" montage near the end?

This haunting song plays while we see what the movie's important characters are doing during the night Donnie is killed. Dr. Monitoff and Karen Pomeroy are in bed together, Jim Cunningham weeps alone in his house, and Frank -- Elizabeth's boyfriend, to those in the know -- sits among sketches of the creepy rabbit, touching his right eye in a troubled way.


Who bikes past Donnie's house the morning that he is killed?

When time rewinds, Donnie is killed by the jet engine that falls through his bedroom ceiling. Gretchen, who never met him in this version of events, bikes past and asks a bystander what just happened. Then she waves at Mrs. Darko, who waves back, and on this note, the movie ends.


For whom does the man in the red track suit work?

You can be forgiven for thinking this remained a mystery -- the clues were subtle. But you can see red-track-suit-man -- wearing normal clothes -- among the FAA guys in both "morning-after" scenes dealing with the jet engine. He's clearly an agent.


Which of the following faculty members has a Ph.D?

Dr. Kenneth Monitoff was played by Noah Wyle, of "ER" fame. Dr. Monitoff discusses time travel and physics with Donnie, and alerts him to the importance of Roberta Sparrow's book.


Mary McDonnell, who played Donnie's mother, would go on to acclaim in what sci-fi series?

McDonnell played Laura Roslin, the civilian leader of the refugee human race, in the "Battlestar Galactica" remake. Hard-headed President Roslin probably would have put the sullen and disrespectful Donnie out an airlock.


Daveigh Chase, who played Donnie's younger sister Samantha, would soon terrify filmgoers in what movie?

Daveigh Chase played Samara, the little girl with the long black hair, in the J-horror remake. She also voiced Lilo in "Lilo and Stitch."


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