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Generally favorable reviews- based on 247 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 247

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  1. Feb 9, 2013
    Soderbergh forgot filmmaking 101, who do we identify with? We are halfway through the movie before we find a reason to root for someone and by then it is too late to emotionally engage. It is more an intellectual movie with incredible acting by Rooney (Oscar level); you have to admire the technique and cutting but along the way the director forgot to get the hearting beating inside this movie. I was in a movie theater that held 300 and there were 15 people. This is DOA and it is unfortunate because it has so much potential. The critics are giving this a thumbs up because they admire the skill but it will remain a critic's movie (ironically these are the same people that don't buy tickets anymore). Expand
  2. Feb 26, 2013
    I hated this movie. Total propaganda in favor of psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry. Plus the typical association of 'bisexual'/'gay' people with psychopathy. Lloyd deMause: the end of child abuse could eventually mean the end of much of the criminal system. As James Gilligan, a prison psychiatrist who has spent his life interviewing criminals, says in his findings:

    In the
    course of my work with the most violent men in maximum-security settings, not a day goes by that I do not hear reports of how these men were victimized during childhood. Physical violence, neglect, abandonment, rejection, sexual exploitation, and violation occurred on a scale so extreme, so bizarre, and so frequent that one cannot fail to see that the men who occupy the extreme end of the continuum of violent behavior in adulthood occupied an extreme end of the continuum of violent child abuse earlier in life. As children, these men were shot, axed, scalded, beaten, strangled, tortured, drugged, starved, suffocated, set on fire, thrown out of windows, raped, or prostituted by mothers who were their pimps. [James Gilligan, Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic. New York: Vintage Books, 1996, p. 45.] Obviously the costs of improving child care are small compared to the enormous costs of the crimes produced by creating time bombs rather than useful citizens. Even the costs of the mental health system are a result of child abuse. As Brett Kahr found when he began to work in the back wards of a British psychiatric hospital with people diagnosed as "schizophrenics," I soon discovered that many of my patients had experienced profound death threats and attempts on their lives in childhood…One of my patients first entered a psychiatric hospital at the age of eighteen because his mother kept chasing him around the family home wielding a carving knife and shouting, 'I will kill him. I will kill him.'" [Brett Kahr, "Ancient Infanticide and Modern Schizophrenia." The Journal of Psychohistory 20(1993):269.]

    Brett's insights have recently been confirmed by major studies showing that the overwhelming majority of schizophrenics and other serious psychiatric patients were horribly abused as children and that their hallucinations were simply flashbacks to dissociated early abusive events. [John Read, Ed. Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Schizophrenia. London: Brunner-Routledge, 2004; Richard P. Bentall, Madness Explained. London: New York: Penguin Global, 2005.]

    - Breaking Down the Wall of Silence by Alice Miller, pp. 142-143: who is there to help, when all the "helpers" fear their own personal history? And so we play the game of blindman's buff with each other--patients, doctors, medical authorities--because until now only a few people have experienced the fact that emotional access to the truth is the indispensable precondition of healing. In the long run, we can only function with consciousness of the truth. This also holds for our physical well-being. Bogus traditional morality, destructive religious interpretations, and confusion in our methods of childrearing all make this experience harder and hinder our initiative. Without a doubt, the pharmaceutical industry also profits from our blindness and despondency. The History of Childhood (Lloyd deMause): In studying childhood over many generations, it is most important to concentrate on those moments which most affect the psyche of the next generation: primarily, this means what happens when an adult is face to face with a child who needs something. The adult has, I believe, three major reactions available: 1. He can use the child as a vehicle for projection of the contents of his own unconscious (projective reaction); 2. he can use the child as a substitute for an adult figure important in his own childhood (reversal reaction); or 3. he can empathize with the child’s needs and act to satisfy them (empathic reaction).
    The projective reaction is, of course, familiar to psychoanalysts under terms which range from “projection” to “projective identification,” a more concrete, intrusive form of voiding feelings into others. Children exist only to satisfy parental needs, and it is always the failure of the child-as-parent to give love which triggers the actual battering.
    Projective and reversal reactions often occurred simultaneously in parents in the past, producing an effect which I call the “double image,” where the child was seen as both full of the adult’s projected desires, hostilities, and sexual thoughts, and at the same moment as a mother or father figure. That is, it is both bad and loving. Furthermore, the further back in history one goes, the more “concretization” or reification one finds of these projective and reversal reactions, producing progressively more bizarre attitudes toward children, similar to those of contemporary parents of battered and schizophrenic children.
  3. Feb 8, 2013
    The challenge of a mystery or thriller is for the director to keep the mystery and thrills intact throughout the film. The problem is, the major twist is telegraphed in the beginning of the film and then you have to wait another hour plus for the payoff that hits home like a pink bunny wrecking ball hits a wall (love that commercial image).

    Good-looking people who have substantial
    personal wealth and personal problems. I felt no remorse for any of them. Face reality, own your behaviors, and avoid drug use. No need for a stylish fortress built on sand, its still going to crumble. Expand
  4. May 31, 2013
    For a psychological thriller with a murder and a lesbian twist, it really is boring, but unsurprisingly stupid. A far-fetched script that is so inconceivable with so many plot twists just for the sake of keeping it interesting. After some decent performances and a list of every anti-depressant in the world mentioned, the movie is disappointing, even though I had no expectations going into it.
  5. Jun 21, 2013
    So boring and predictable. After the first 20 minutes it was easy enough to catch the rest of the film. Obvious twist and dumb one at that. A real waste of time to say the least.
  6. Mar 2, 2013
    This review contains spoilers. What a disappointment! The story was so preposterous. It doesn't take a lawyer to know that a doctor cannot choose whether to testify for his patient or the prosecution. Duh patient-doctor privilege. He's not to say anything without the patient's permission. And what about the liability of the drug company? Those are just two of the ridiculous plot points. I wish I had walked out and done something worthwhile with my time. Steven Soderbergh, it is good you are retiring! Collapse
  7. Mar 18, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really hope this isn't Steven Soderbergh's final film as it's a very disappointing end to a great career. What could have been a very entertaining thriller ended up being nothing more than a tacky TV thriller with terrible plot twists and even worse acting! You know something's not right when Channing Tatum is the best thing about a film! Expand
  8. Mar 31, 2013
    Character development was completely neglected in light of an actually great narrative. Good choice of actors to portray all elements of the story, but ultimately weak in creating anything substantial.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Mar 4, 2013
    We may lose Soderbergh to painting, theatre and HBO-fuelled TV, and that’s a crying shame. If that’s the case, Side Effects is a great note on which to go out.
  2. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 26, 2013
    He’s taken what, on paper, boils down to an extra ridiculous episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and passes it off as high cinematic art.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Feb 9, 2013
    Side Effects virtually demands a three-word review: Just see it.