Side Effects - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Side Effects Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 20, 2013
If this is really Soderbergh's last film, at least he departs on a good note with this smart film that moves so expertly from one genre to another - switching protagonists and growing from an intimate drama about depression to a pharmaco-thriller with clever twists.
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2015
Interesting. I didn't expect the twists and turns at all. Not entirely the movie I thought I would be watching, but I liked it.
Jude Law is always a put off in a movie, though. I didn't find the past scandal with the ex patient a stretch at all with him, though I get that it probably didn't actually happen.
I am not entirely sure it all added up at the end, or was possible, but good movie that I doubt I will rewatch.
Super Reviewer
½ April 22, 2014
A depressed woman finds the drug and psychiatrist who prescribed it may be responsible for her killing her husband.
The first part of this film is vintage Soderbergh, social issue drama with compelling characters and well-constructed plot lines. The second part of this film is a milquetoast, predictable thriller that is fun but not all that interesting. Some of the stock that the film built up over the first part of the film is squandered.
Rooney Mara's performance is good; she's vulnerable and can be intimidating.
Overall, Soderbergh is one of the finest directors working today, but he's a lot better in a film that is all his ilk, not just half his ilk.
Super Reviewer
½ February 22, 2013
Movies like Side Effects quite simply don't get made often these days. And now that this is reportedly director Steven Soderbergh's final film, it is likely another one of this kind won't be made again.
This is a thriller that keeps the suspense high and the plots twists as unexpected as any of Alfred Hitchcock's best works. Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum are all excellent.
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2013
I felt as if it may be about a case on profiting from certain drug prescription, but then it turned out to be some another sort of thriller. Fortunately, it wasn't a disappointing venture.
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2013
While its ending is not particularly strong, and the storyline can verge on bizarre and tiring, Side Effects is largely compelling. It is generally well-filmed and well-paced, and features another impressive performance from Oscar nominee Rooney Mara.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2013
Emily Taylor: I'm not crazy, you know I'm not crazy.

"One pill can change your life."

Side Effects is a great way for a great director to go out. If this does end up being Steven Soderbergh's last film, at least he went out on top, even if it means as fans, we just want more. Side Effects is as interesting a film as Soderbergh has ever made, and it is one with a superb cast and an amazing plot. It's technically well made on every level as per usual with Soderbergh. The music is fantastic and the cinematography is gorgeous. It's just one hell of a movie all the way around.

Emily is a depressed 28 year old, whose whole life was thrown upside down when her rich husband was put in prison for insider trading. She lost her husband, her home, and she also miscarried her child. Now with her husband getting out things are just getting worse. When she spontaneously tries to kill herself, she comes under the guidance of a psychiatrist, who prescribes her a new type of medication that he thinks may help. But the drug has side effects. There's a lot more depth to the plot, but I think anymore information would take away from the experience.

Rooney Mara and Jude Law are the standout performances here. I love Rooney Mara and her performance as Emily is quite possible the best performance of her short career. Jude Law also seems like he was made to play a psychiatrist, everything from his tone of voice to demeanor is spot on. Catherine Zeta Jones also gives a wonderful, but smaller performance as Emily's former psychiatrist, and even Channing Tatum is watchable.

This is one of those rare movies that has everything going for it and in the end all the individual talent involved here makes for a near perfect film. I'm a huge Steven Soderbergh fan, so I may be a little biased, as I just really enjoy everything he does. Hopefully he'll make a comeback at some point, but at least he left us with another great film to add to his stunning filmography.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2013
A wonderful cast comes together to give us an exciting and surprising tale of deception. Acting was very good, and the plot was surprisingly fresh. Very solid cinematic experience.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2012
In what is possibly be one of the last projects from the prolific Steven Soderbergh (at least for a while), we get a high caliber thriller that ranks as one of the better Hitchcockian homages in quite some time.

Martin is a recently paroled white collar criminal whose wife Emily is struggling with anxiety and depression in the wake of his release. Her psychiatrist Dr. Banks prescribes her a new experimental drug, but not long after, things fall apart when the drug is revealed to have some shocking and unexpected side effects.

For about the first oh, 40 minutes or so, it seems as if Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns really have some issues with the pharmaceutical industry, as this kinda comes off as some sort of horrifying anti-pill propaganda. But then, the film takes a radical shift and turns into a thriller of a different kind.

I'm deliberately being vague, as part of the fun is experiencing this sharp and taut caper for yourself. It gets pretty twisty and turny, and some may not take well to the shift in direction, but it's not jarring enough to completely derail things. At least I didn't think so.

It's got the style we've come to expect from Soderbergh, and it is quite an effective and engaging film. The cinematography, editing, and music fit the proceedings quite well, and there's some great sequences here, one in particular that is incredibly potent.

The cast are well picked, and their performances are quite strong. Channing Tatum is quite decent and believable as Martin, Jude Law is solid as Dr. Banks, and Catherine Zeta-Jones is quite good as Emily's former psychiatrist Dr. Siebert. The real highlight here is Rooney Mara as Emily. She's got a tough role, but she pulls it off quite well.

I said the film is pretty sharp, but I must admit that it is a bit of a slow burner at first, and the twists and turns are a bit *ahem* hard to swallow, but if you can keep an open mind, suspend some belief, and be willing to accept what the film throws at you, then you'll probably have a pretty good time.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2013
Steven Soderbergh crafts yet another stunning film with Side Effects. This is an engaging film from start to finish. Side Effects is a well layered film with a great story and effective acting and directing. The story is engaging and interesting and it will keep you involved from the first frame onwards. There are several standout performances in the movie. Soderbergh is a stunning director and he always manages to craft a movie that is original and worth seeing due to its plot. Side Effects tells a great story that will make you think from start to finish. I really enjoyed the film, and thought it was a well executed thriller among the finest in recent memory. The cast here delivers some great performances here and the plot is really something that you need to pay close attention to. The film is a near flawless thriller, one that continues Soderbergh's directorial streak. If you want a well acted feature film with a great story, then this is the film that you should check out. Steven Soderbergh is a fine filmmaker and with Side Effects he crafts yet another stunning film that will appeal to fans of the director. The plot is well thought out and keeps you involved right up to the very end. Soderbergh has made some good movies in the past, but with this film, he really delivers one of his strongest directorial efforts. Give this film a shot, it is worth it and you will be engaged from start to finish due to great, memorable performances and wonderful directing from Steven Soderbergh.
Super Reviewer
February 22, 2013
How often do we get films this good so early in the year? "Side Effects" is a great film, a new release that has all the class and confidence of a classic thriller. If this is to be Soderbergh's last film, it's also one of his best. Hitchcock would be proud.
Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2013
This was a bit slow in the beginning, but turned out to be a great thriller that keeps you guessing. Great acting. Great plot. Great revenge. All around fantastic film! Kudos!!
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2013
Disappointing to a fault, "Side Effects" is not quite up to the standards set by Soderbergh's best films, but it is a very solid one that takes you by surprise in the first act, but let's down and becomes a little predictable until the end, making for a sloppily structured picture. The most interesting things happen during the build up and suspense in the beginning, which in turn, I believe, gave the filmmakers a little too much confidence in making this a masterpiece. Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara are terrific together, and Mara continues to display her terrific acting talent. Steven Soderbergh's vision is always out there and kind of pokes fun at critics in the way the film looks, which is a tad distracting. "Side Effects" is well shot, well edited and well directed, but it get's boring as the film goes on. Overall, it was a good film.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2013
Impeccable, masterful, formulated thriller directing from Soderbergh yet again.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2013
A fascinating though flawed thriller concerning a troubled young woman (Rooney Mara) who is prescribed a new drug by her psychiatrist (Jude Law), and how the drug has unexpected side effects on her life as well as her husband's (Channing Tatum). Although definitely an intriguing set-up and extremely well handled during it's first 2/3's, this movie ultimately becomes a bit too clever for its own good, lunging into an absurd sub-plot involving Mara and her old psychiatrist (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that feels very contrived. Still, the cautionary tale it starts out as is riveting and the acting is really good (especially Law as a man trying to reclaim his life), ultimately Soderbergh just gets a little too cute and clever for his own good, and the result is an average but completely forgettable movie.
Super Reviewer
½ June 12, 2013
This is your insanity on drugs.

Very Good Film! !It's more of an edge-of-your-mind thriller rather than an edge-of-your- seat thriller. Never really scared, always questioning the moral and psychological behavior of these characters. The ending takes some strange, sexually-charged turns, and perhaps a bit more conclusive than I was originally expecting, but don't worry, you can still question where the line is between right and wrong and when each character crossed it.

Emily Taylor, despite being reunited with her husband from prison, becomes severely depressed with emotional episodes and suicide attempts. Her psychiatrist, Jonathan Banks, after conferring with her previous doctor, eventually prescribes an experimental new medication called Ablixa. The plot thickens when the side effects of the drug lead to Emily killing her husband in a "sleepwalking" state. With Emily plea-bargained into mental hospital confinement and Dr. Banks' practice crumbling around him, the case seems closed. However, Dr. Banks cannot accept full responsibility and investigates to clear his name. What follows is a dark quest that threatens to tear what's left of his life apart even as he discovers the diabolical truth of this tragedy.
Super Reviewer
½ June 5, 2013
Steven Soderbergh movies have always been hit and miss with me. But with this and his last 2 movies("Behind the Candlabra" and "Magic Mike") he's on a very good run. "Side Effects" is a very good thriller where the less you know the better. Emily and Martin(Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum) are a reuniting couple as Martin gets out of jail. Once out, her anxiety attacks start again and she meets psychiatrist(Jude Law) who wants to start her on a new drug that has some interesting Side Effects. The cast is great, with each giving terrific performances. Law is especially good, doing his best work in years. I will say, this may not be for everyone. It is a little slow, and the story doesn't unfold like most would expect. But it's still very good and very much worth a watch.
Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2013
One of the better movies so far this year, Side Effects is a twisty thriller with good performances and a deft screenplay that keeps you on your toes. It does a great job of switching gears about half way through the film. I was totally blindsided. The marketing campaign made this look very similar to Soderbergh's "Contagion" albeit about medicine rather than an epidemic. Some people grow tired of those "message" movies and find them boring, but this film is not one of those. It starts off as one, but it eventually turns in to a full blown thriller with tons of twists and surprises. They do a fantastic job of instilling doubt at every turn until the final scenes. Rooney Mara and Jude Law give good performances, while Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones have limited, but effective screen time. Anyone who has struggled with depression or anxiety will feel very uncomfortable during the tense first half (I know I was) and the second half will re-ignite interest in those that don't like the first half. While this isn't one of the message movies I was talking about, it does have some good social commentary in it. Side Effects did not deserve to be put in the dumping ground early in the year. It's supposedly Soderbergh's last feature film since he has grown tired of the industry and while it is not his best film, it is a solid way to go out and features many of his signature touches that make him one of the better directors in the industry today.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2013
three stars
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