User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 227 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 227

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  1. Jul 11, 2014
    5
    I didn't know anything about the plot before I watched it, and after an hour or so of watching Side Effects I thought I'd see some major plot twist that would surprise me. The premises were there: the film was decently long, the beginning was weird enough and some things were left unexplained. But then the actual plot twist comes around (not really well structured, in my opinion, there's too much of a jump between when Jude Law is complaining and when he realises there's a scheme going on) I was left with disappointment: it was, in the end, predictable and poorly delivered.

    On the other hand, the acting is good even if I didn't like Catherine Zeta-Jones at all, the dialogues too. The music and the cinematography are okay. I wouldn't say it's anything particularly interesting.
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  2. Apr 5, 2014
    9
    Side Effects is one of Soderbergh's best movies in recent years. It has a complex center with intelligent screenwriting and great performances by Law, Zeta-Jones, Mara, and even Tatum.
  3. Dec 28, 2013
    7
    Soderbergh's new thriller throws out one or two twists too many by the end, but remains unpredictable and engaging throughout. Rooney Mara's performance and the chilly score lend a memorable creepiness to the film.
  4. Dec 28, 2013
    9
    Thriller captivant, des rebondissements du début la fin. Une intrigue bien ficelée, on est complètement immergé dans le film et dans le personnage. Bref excellent film
  5. Nov 21, 2013
    9
    Drugs and depression. Steven Soderbergh takes both subjects head- on in Side Effects, a film that examines how the lives of a group of individuals inevitability become tied together by mental illness and chance.

    Emily Taylor’s (Rooney Mara) life is on the brink of total collapse. After waiting four years for her husband to get out of prison, her depression finally overtakes her. She
    ends up in the Emergency Room after a failed suicide attempt. Here she encounters Doctor Jonathan Banks (Jude Law).

    Jude Law doesn’t seem a likely psychiatrist, but it doesn’t matter, he pulls it off and all the other characters fall into line around him; although Jude Law is the heart of the film, Soderbergh is undeniably at the helm here. He is the brain. Soderbergh’s characters habituate their New York City with 100% believability, believability so intense in fact, it is haunting.

    The viewer envies the characters and their glamorous lives, even more so as they destroy themselves. The viewer needs to remind themself that these characters do not exist, and this is a fiction, be it an excellently written one by Scott Z. Burns. As a screenwriter I watch this film as a lesson in how to build intersecting plot lines.

    Banks comes across as a doctor legitimately interesting in helping people, so when Emily claims to be living in a depressive fog Banks takes on the task of trying his best to help her. Emily’s condition begins to improve, but in the midst of the improvement tragedy strikes, and it threatens to bring down both patient and doctor.

    As a psychiatrist Dr. Banks did what psychiatrists do, he prescribed drugs. Then more drugs. Then even more drugs. Even though it seems absurd at times just how many medications are being dolled here, for anyone who has ever experienced psychiatric treatment, they will realize that these procedures are standard. So is this a jab at psychiatry’s habit of throwing handfuls of pills at people in mental distress? However mind-boggling it may be that the treatment for nearly every mental condition is medication, this film doesn’t come across as serious critique of psychiatric drugs, or the pharmaceutical industry.

    There is a fog covering the whole film, figuratively in the melancholic tone, and literally in the shades of grey of the cinematography. This fog further complicates an already complex plot, but once you can piece together what has occurred, as I did hours afterwards, you will not be able to shake this film’s dark presence.

    In the end it is not drug use that is being criticized here, but rather the avaricious soul-sucking void, the characters' needs to engulf their surroundings, and the sociopathic culture that made them this way.

    Amazing!
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  6. Oct 7, 2013
    7
    Looking Rooney Mara in this film I think that Mara is perverse nymph. Rooney conveys fragility and innocence. But, behind this supposed fragility there are dark sides, maliciousness and revenge. Soderbergh has done one of the best films in 2000's. "Side Effects" seems a Agatha Christie or Patricia Highsmith book.
  7. Sep 9, 2013
    7
    This was better than i expected. An engaging story, with many twists and turns. Great performances, especially from Rooney Mara. This is another stellar movie from director Steven Soderbergh.
  8. Aug 17, 2013
    8
    "Side Effects" is cleverly crafted in that you believe you're watching one type of film, when it's actually about something else altogether. "Side Effects" begins as if it were a modern-day problem movie, but then transforms itself. The twists are many, and ever-changing landscape of the film alters the path it takes on its road to resolution. "Side Effects" is really a sleekly constructed noir using the pharmaceutical industry as the backdrop.

    Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a 28-year-old graphic designer who looks somewhat adrift in her Manhattan apartment. She is awaiting the return of her husband Martin (Channing Tatum), sentenced to prison four years before for insider trading. The film starts up just before his release, a day she's eagerly awaiting. Once he's out, though, she seems unable to control her depression. Taken to the hospital, she's examined by a psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). He's concerned about her suicidal tendencies, but takes Emily's word that she'll start coming in for therapy and continue taking her medications, so he lets her go. Her psychiatrist Dr. Banks, after conferring with her old doctor, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), eventually prescribes her an experimental new medication he's consulting on, Ablixa.

    At first, "Side Effects" appears solely as Emily's story--following her through the withering exhaustion of adjusting medications, and dealing with the increasingly horrendous conditions they cause. And then, just as you have resigned to "Side Effects" as a blitz against our society's willingness to seek personal solutions in pills, the narrative veers sideways--and you never really see it coming. From there on, it's a game of shifting narratives and re-examined assumptions that contains more than a couple of decoys. The movie is content to keep viewers engaged by changing our perceptions of events and characters as the plot unfolds. This is what makes this film such a marvel and so difficult to discuss, but unquestionably worth the watch.
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  9. BKM
    Aug 11, 2013
    5
    Side Effects is a well crafted murder mystery with an a ton of A-list talent involved, but in the end the twists and turns of the plot and the whole sleight of hand quality completely overshadow the characters resulting in a remarkably hollow viewing experience.
  10. Aug 3, 2013
    8
    Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects is a compulsively entertaining thriller. Rooney Mara and Jude Law give petrifyingly good performances. Thomas Newman's score is rapturous. It's a must-see.
  11. Jul 29, 2013
    5
    This Soderbergh thriller fails to deliver the goods: it's slow, colorless and drowsy, very much like the medication they keep talking about in the film makes you feel. Jude Law certainly isn't bad (lesser actors would have made the movie even more boring) but even he can't save this one. Admittedly there are much worse thrillers out there but you can happily skip this one.
  12. Jul 14, 2013
    5
    The movie starts as a conspiracy theorists wet dream about big pharma but goes later down another path. Unfortunately, the story is illogical and the plot tries bit too hard to be clever. Actors do a fine job, aside Catherine Zeta-Jones character is not a good fit for her.
  13. Jun 21, 2013
    0
    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.
  14. Jun 18, 2013
    7
    I’m a little late to the party, but better late than never for this clever piece of work. ‘Side Effects’, Steven Soderbergh’s final theatrical release, was a mesmerizing film that works as both a thriller and a social commentary on society's obsession with prescription medication. Without giving anything away; the film follows a woman and her psychiatrist, as their lives begin to change after a drug he prescribed to her yields some undesirable side effects. Rooney Mara and Jude Law did good jobs in their respective roles, but my favorite of the cast was Catherine Zeta-Jones who gave a chilly performance as a rivaling psychiatrist who adds multiple layers to the film's plot. Soderbergh directs this picture as effectively as possible; adding tight thrills and surprises, in tandem with a down tempo atmosphere which gave the film a noirish feel. Thomas Newman's score was also effective, adding a nice touch to the picture. While Soderbergh and his fine cast all did nice work the star of this show was probably Scott Z. Burns for his deliciously deceptive screenplay, which constructs an idea and gradually evolves it into an entirely new beast. His script blue prints all those twists, and successfully draws a band of interesting characters. While the twists and turns is one of the film’s biggest assets; it, ironically, may also be the movie's biggest downfall, as it doesn't allow for great repeat viewing. But fret not. As it stands, Side Effects was a rock solid movie, that most should appreciate quite easily. Expand
  15. Jun 10, 2013
    8
    Extraordinary. Great actors. Great plot. Great director.Great twists.Great in general.Don't miss it you will lose a masterpiece. probably one of the sexiest films of the year A must-watch
  16. Jun 8, 2013
    8
    Great thriller by Soderbergh, with another great turn by Rooney Mara, one of the more talented young actress around. It has a timely topic (i.e. are we relying on psychiatry and pills too much these days?) and twist them into a noir-ish thriller for the modern ages. I won't say too much in this review as it will spoil its surprises, but I highly recommend this, one of the Director's best effort in years. Expand
  17. Jun 4, 2013
    6
    A good movie, the acting is really good, it’s not predictable as I expected to be, but I didn’t quite love the ending,a little to much for my liking. Everything else is very enjoyable.
  18. Jun 4, 2013
    9
    "Side Effects is a truly engrossing, edgy, seductive film and proves just how good Steven Soderbergh really is. Exciting and filled with unpredictable twist and featuring outstanding performances, Side Effects is the first great film of the 2013 year." A-
  19. Jun 2, 2013
    9
    A story with many twists and turns that hooked me from the start. I really thought that Jude Law gave one of his best performances in years and along with Rooney Mara this film is well put together.
  20. May 31, 2013
    4
    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.
  21. May 20, 2013
    8
    Soderbergh puts a smooth polish on Scott Z. Burns’ script, which has some clever twists and sly commentary about pharmaceutical-industry marketing. Mara ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") holds the wild plot together with her quicksilver performance.
    It starts with frail Emily (Rooney Mara) feeling depressed when her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) finishes a prison term for insider
    trading. Emily sees a shrink, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who prescribes a new anti-depressant but the drug’s side effects include sleepwalking, or for Emily sleep-stabbing. Expand
  22. May 17, 2013
    7
    Had low expectations, was pleasantly surprised! This movie is a slow burning thriller (more of a mind game), with same good performances (especially from Jude Law and Rooney Mara). There are no black or white characters here, just shades of grey leaning towards the darker tones. Also with some social criticism. Might be somewhat predictable, but the performances make it worth watch!…
  23. May 13, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The side effects from a clinical trial on cortisone that the schoolteacher undertakes for his inflamed arteries doesn't so much bring about a new person into being, but rather, the miracle drug coaxes out the contemporaneous man who was there all along; a shackled shadow emancipated at long last, a projection made corporeal by a pill, in which Ed confronts his unfettered perceptions toward his hitherto role as the patriarch of a nuclear family, its bedrock. Cortisone, a then-experimental steroid prescribed by Ed's physician to treat the consummate husband and father, while not an anti-depressant, nevertheless, in Bigger than Life, performs as one, in the sense that the elixir offers the patient an omnipotent feeling akin to total well-being. But for Ed, the best version of himself doubles as the Avery family's worst nightmare, since his best version, the supposition that he is a pillar of the home and community, manifests itself as a facade that the cortisone excoriates; it's in fact, a truth serum, this pill, and the truth is, this congenial man, seemingly interpellated and calibrated to the languorous rigors of domesticity, suggests what George Bailey could have transformed into had the pecuniary windfall from his friends not come through: a cold-blooded murderer. Robin Wood, a film theorist, writing about It's a Wonderful Life, famously identified George as a "cowboy hero", encapsulated best in Mary's drawing entitled "George Lassos the Moon", an inadvertently cruel housewarming gift that accentuates how the natural born wanderer fell short of his goal, having never left the homestead, the city limits of Bedford Falls. In Bigger than Life, the cortisone is a salve which treats not only the malady that torments Ed, but it alchemizes the filmic text itself, as if the mis-en-scene was treated with the drug in a sort of celluloidal form, a latency, initially, gone undetected in the diegesis, gets diagnosed and is cured after a second opinion. Ed, home from work, passes the television room where Richie, his son, watches a western, then greets Lou, manning the kitchen like a good housewife, but along the way, he passes a map of the world hanging in the hallway. This unassuming atlas is an object in flux, rife with significance, after all, as when Ed, high on cortisone, alluding to the vagaries of his life's work, says: "I couldn't do it in an atmosphere of petty domesticity." Ed's disapproving facial gestures and especially his criticisms about Richie's inclination towards cowboy-oriented programming("Doesn't this stuff bore you?" he asks, adding, "It's always the same story."), once seen as abhorrence, now seems misread. Superimposed over the men and their horses, Ed sees his own face in the screen, turning the dialogue with Richie into a monologue, a soliloquy about the drudgery inherent in the multiple roles of the domiciled. Like Ed, addled on drugs, who nearly kills his family, Emily, too, is on something while she hatches her murder plot on Martin, her crestfallen husband. More powerful than Prozac, or in this case, the fictional pill Eblixir, it's money that manages Emily depression, better than any anti-depressant. Side Effects include: seducing a female psychiatrist, knowingly self-medicating one's self with a placebo: love, while allowing money's byproduct: greed, the quasi-drug's main property, as an excuse to stab a loved one with a knife under the bogus pretense of sleepwalking. Similar to Scottie Ferguson who falls for the gambit which has Madeline Elster walking around San Francisco as the dead modeling subject of a painting incarnate, Martin, as well as Emily's current attending physician, Dr. Banks, falls for the same somnambulist act too, with the difference being that the brains behind this money grab are women. Dr. Siebert's charge doesn't make the mistake of falling in love with her mark, like Madeline/Judy did with the acrophobic ex-detective. The money in Emily's offshore account, no doubt, prevents any residual feelings of tenderness towards Martin from happening. The husband, imprisoned for insider trading, unlike Scottie, never perceives that he's looking at a double, never notices that the Emily he married is dead. In a flashback, Side Effects shows us the couple at a lavish picnic, living the dream, just prior to the arrival of the police and Martin's imminent arrest. Side Effects is an inversion of the Vertigo: it recasts Judy as the femme fatale and Madeline as the woman in love. Bigger than Life, released in 1956, has a touch of Hitchc*ck, as well, when Ed tries to clothe Lou with haute coutre, the same French fashions that his colleague wears. He turns his wife into Pat. The cortisone decodes "push" into "f*ck"; it's not car ttrouble that Ed and Pat are talking about. Unlike Bound, in which the lesbian lovers choose love over money, for Emily, greed is by far the stronger drug, a side effect of capitalism. Expand
  24. May 13, 2013
    9
    For an early season movie, Side Effects is exceptional. It's high intelligence and engrossing matter lets the audience join a thrilling experience, that once it's over you begin to see how crafty the film really is.
  25. May 11, 2013
    10
    What a great way to go out with the best movie of 2013 I've seen so far. I loved the slowly unraveling serpentine plot that had us thinking it was an expose on Big Pharma and then it twisted in a totally different direction. Great acting too. A modern thriller classic.
  26. May 8, 2013
    6
    A recent cinema-going of SIDE EFFECTS, hyped as Soderbergh’s last theatrical release picture (what’s the hell with the BEHIND THE CANDELABRA’s Cannes screening?), it unites 3 Soderbergh’s regulars with a fresh new leading lady Rooney Mara, grapples with a suspicious somnambulistic murder case under the side effects of prescribed drug influence.

    Opening with a PSYCHO-tribute
    craning-and-tracking shot outside a residential building, patiently zooms in on one of the monotonous windows and reveals the blood stain left on the carpet (without notifying neither the perpetrator nor the victim), then jumps back to a 3-months-earlier flashback, Soderbergh certainly has his artistry in his stylish camerawork, and equally superb in dragging his audiences into the hazy mind state of Mara’s character, and keeps it captivating and seething with uncertainty and angst, blurs the boundary between truth and lies, steers its sharp point bluntly towards the pharmaceutical industry.

    Up until then, all the suspenses have been fully elicited, one can sense there is something fishy about the case, and the film shunts to another direction, with a fast pace of elucidation the crime hidden behind, a shopworn procedure but it is requisite for pandering to solve all the question marks inside viewers mind, the scheme our wronged shrink to turn both sides against each other is amateurishly exercised, which could be screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’s incapability to round out the story or Soderbergh is never a talented story-teller, if only the twist had been more scrupulously sanded down and the perpetrators’ motive and interplay (say, the insider trading part) should be more well-founded, even it finally reaches a feel good ending for the audience, the aftertaste is not totally satisfactory.

    Anyhow the film owns a killer cast (except someone who really should learn from Julianne Moore in CHLOE 2009, 7/10 how to kiss a girl), Rooney Mara has a unique distanced coolness in her blood which distinguishes her from the usual Hollywood cloyingness, and it does benefit her for meatier (especially with those have ambiguous attributes) offers and she is on her mettle in the film, versatile between her conflicting facets during the different phases. Jude Law, recollects his leading-man-ship in the film, a pro-medicine shrink with a sleuth acuity, also receive a welcome back, a tailor-made character, and he fits it with such ease. Channing Tatum sidesteps from the limelight this time whereas his Mr. Nice Guy image has been further amplified this time, don’t know it is a good thing or not.

    If this is Soderbergh’s swan song (or penultimate one), it doesn’t forebode well since it is an audience-courting film rather than his own auteur-seeking venture, if not, I will keep high hopes in his next projects (even if it means a long hiatus).
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  27. Apr 29, 2013
    8
    This movie is extremely well done. Every element from story to acting works. It is tightly constructed, highly engaging and managed to hold the audiences attention the whole time. Rooney Mara is proving to be one of the greatest upcoming actresses as she plays the most fascinating and deceiving character in the film. Jude Law does a fine job and everyone else is good. Steven Soderbergh's superb direction and sense of pacing makes this one of the greatest thrillers I've seen this year. Then again, it is only February. Expand
  28. Apr 23, 2013
    5
    A murder mystery film is something that has grown out of fashion in Hollywood as of late due to the plethora of procedurals on TV at the moment. However Steven Soderbergh uses this murder mystery template as a biting critique of the pharmaceutical industry, its just he didn't put as much thought into the story he was telling and because of this Side Effects is really quite dull. When Emily's (An extremely wooden Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released from prison she seeks help for her depression from psychiatrist Johnathon Banks (Jude Law) and the drug he prescribes her has unforeseen side effects leading to a dangerous conspiracy filled with murder and lies. The main problem with Side Effects isn't the slow, and I mean really slow story, its that the film follows a lead character who is so badly acted its not even funny, it goes past the realm of unintentionally hilarious and becomes horrific. For an actress like Rooney Mara to go from marvelous in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to this bad is shocking. Luckily the film swaps protagonists at the halfway point in favour of the brilliant Jude Law who proves yet again that he and Soderbergh work well together (after his gripping turn in Contagion in 2010). While Mara maintains her presence in the film the tone shifts when the story changes making for a much more engaging, more intelligent final act. That being said the film is filled with plenty to praise even with the Mara mistep. For example its casting is pretty great, except for the obvious. Catherine Zeta Jones proves why she is an Oscar winner with a small but vital supporting role, one made for her. Channing Tatum impresses with his small role too (much like he did in Soderbergh's Haywire). However the film suffers terribly by the pacing of the story and the fact the film is intentionally split into two. The fact that you can notice the split is because the first section is painfully dull and is extremely heavy handed with its social commentary. The second half lays back on the politics in favour of developing the central mystery and because of this it is enjoyable and at times surprising. It also doesn't hurt that Jude Law is on a role in terms of performances as of late making it slightly disappointing that he is part of a film that is only really half cooked. Expand
  29. Apr 19, 2013
    8
    Understated and delicate lead performance by Mara was captivating, & Law played the ambitious, sincere, & desperate psychiatrist out to help and make a positive difference superbly as well. The film was paced and quiet, allowing the thrill to draw from the mysterious plot. Then there were the moments that demanded serious & considerate thought to be had, which always satisfies and intrigues this viewer (the movie was right up my alley, me being one to briefly aspire to become a forensic psychologist or paralegal). Jones' performance was quirky and tritely revealing from the get-go (I believe it was intentional for the viewer to never quite trust her character, the reason being as to keep us guessing and unsure of what the turn out would be). Another rumble in my mind as I was reflecting on the movie was the characterization of Banks' (Law's character) wife, who also seemed to have been deliberately presented as withdrawn, unsympathetic, high-strung, and high-maintenance, with only brief moments of appeal. Overall, I loved the canvas of characters and the touch of reality it presented in its quiet and ponderous tone. Expand
  30. Apr 8, 2013
    9
    An incredibly surprising film that is written extremely well and is meant for film lovers only. Some may think its boring and overlong but they just don't appreciate well written and complicated films such as this one. Its a great film and another great entry from Steven Soderbergh.
  31. Apr 8, 2013
    5
    I had high expectations towards this movie due to its high rating, but after watching, it totally disappointed me. The movie has a good plot, but it is too boring, draggy and it contains too many irrelevant scenes which should not be displayed. It lacks impacts or emphasis on scenes, which failed to attract my attention enough. It could've been better. Credits to the casts; especially Rooney Mara. But it's just not enough to make up to give credibility to this movie. Expand
  32. Apr 2, 2013
    8
    It is one of those stories that have so many twists that as a result make you question everything you see and even though in retrospect the end result is a tad preposterous, Steven Soderbergh who like a puppet master plays the audience in his hands, pulls it off masterfully. Zeta Jones was the only dry performer in a film where both Mara and Law excelled, Burns' clever storyline and with great score from Newman. Expand
  33. Mar 31, 2013
    0
    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.
  34. Mar 31, 2013
    6
    Undeniably well shot and, to an extent, acted. However, 'Side Effects' labours under the misapprehension that it is far more intelligent than it actually is and jams the story together like ill-fitting puzzle pieces.
  35. Mar 24, 2013
    8
    Like I said before, I'm not a fan of Steven Soderborgh. But I have to say, this one is truly (in my opinion) his best movie. I mean, he's made some good movies, such as "Traffic" and Ocean's Eleven", but unlike those two movies, this one really stands out for its suspenseful tale. He brings in some intensity in not only the story, but in the characters as well. I wish Soderborgh could make more movies like this Expand
  36. Mar 22, 2013
    5
    This movie is a red box movie I wouldn't waste the money to see it in theaters. it takes an interesting twist that leaves your scratching your head and letting out a little chuckkle. Roony Myra gives a good crazy chick preformance, like I said red box wortht.
  37. Mar 18, 2013
    2
    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
  38. Mar 17, 2013
    9
    Clever plot, good acting. Hard to follow sometimes, and visually a bit unexciting, but pretty entertaining, adult entertainment anyway. Good turns from Jude La and Rooney Mara. Extra marks for not following predictable paths. Less marks for a moderately silly lesbian sub-plot that bordered on being pointlessly salacious. But still one of the better films of the year, so long as you pay attention to what is going on. Expand
  39. Mar 9, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A wonderfully mature and adult thriller in which the puzzle is somewhat more satisfying than the resolution as it leaves a few uncertain conclusions. Jude Law is very good as the psychiatrist treating Rooney Mara's depressed patient and there are twists and turns in abundance; a shocking murder and a lot of debating the use of prescription drugs are just a few of the plot points that propel the story intriguingly forward. However, I must admit to some uncertainty about the conclusion which is lazily written. One gets the gist, but it is definitely not totally satisfactory. Good acting and a mood enhancing score from Thomas Newman add to the stylish effect. Expand
  40. Mar 8, 2013
    9
    Wow I was very surprised how good this film is. I went into the cinema thinking this might be good, it might not be but I'll enjoy it regardless. I left feeling very satisfied and desiring to discuss the ethical, societal and medical issues raised.

    What happens in the film is unexpected and the outcome is absolutely fitting. How it is executed and unfolds is a strength of the acting and
    the writing.

    I'll close by saying if you're interested go see it. You won't be disappointed, especially if you love films that have meaning, offer social commentary, and will spark discussion afterwards.
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  41. Mar 2, 2013
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 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! Expand
  42. Feb 26, 2013
    1
    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.
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  43. Feb 24, 2013
    7
    Being one of the more story-centric movies this year, Side Effects is an outlier compared to other films like Die Hard, ect. This being said, it is not particularly great in it's storyline or pacing, but it is fun and interesting to finally see a decent movie that relies more on its character development than its's action or star line-up. The thing this film does best is certainly it's character development, and you literally see certain characters progressing or degreasing in their state of mind throughout the film, and it makes u greatly for its luke-warm story and plot. Expand
  44. Feb 24, 2013
    7
    The first half of the movie is intriguing and promising. Then it drifts away to a silly, predictable ending. Why Soderbergh chose to cater to the simple minded viewer after getting the attention of the serious minded viewer will remain a mystery. Vetting the script writer might have helped. The plot starts to fill up with bilge from the holes driven through it after the so called "Trial" and descends into an inane mystery detective plot. Roony Mara is a delight though and we await her getting a decent script to play around in. Iit had Jude Law and that should have been the giveaway Expand
  45. Feb 23, 2013
    9
    I loved this movie. Side Effects is an incredibly complex and amazingly smart thriller; because of a fantastic screenplay, the plot convincingly leads you down one path, but by the end of it all, you're nowhere close to where you thought the film was going. The film does take its time setting itself up during the first third of the film, but once the story starts to unfold, it twists relentlessly while never being entirely obvious. This is one of Soderbergh's best directorial efforts; he directs with style, the aesthetics are beautiful, and he gets some really good performances from his cast. Rooney Mara is terrific, she delves into many different levels of depression and she really impressed me my with her performance. Jude Law is also really good. I think he's a great (and underrated) actor; he was given a great role here and he nails it. Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum both step out of their comfort zones and deliver solid performances, which is really nice, but he was terribly miscast. Side Effects is one of the best thrillers I've seen in years. It's highly intelligent, but it lets its audience join in the fun of trying to figure it out. This makes for a thrilling, exciting, and satisfying movie experience. Check it out! Expand
  46. Feb 23, 2013
    7
    Side Effects allows style and intrigue to stay constant, while allowing character and plot development to run wild but not so wild to cause harm to the film’s effectiveness.
  47. Feb 22, 2013
    8
    Great movies and great thrillers in particular should never be predictable. I don't want to instinctively know how the plot will twist and turn after seeing only the trailer. I had an inkling of where this one would take me but, found plenty of meat on the bone as it unfolded. It is hard to write a review for this film without including spoilers, so in broadest generalities this is a great thriller with lots of good plot twists. I was drawn in to the angst of the situation, and received a commensurate payoff with the ending. Well done. Expand
  48. Feb 21, 2013
    7
    The first half of the film trumps the latter. The twist become a bit unrealistic. Law delivers a fine performance. Mara pulls off her role with ideal composure. A film that will appeal to our current medicated nation.
  49. Feb 21, 2013
    10
    Side Effects is Soderbergh’s latest and last effort as a director and it is without a doubt that fans of the prolific filmmaker will be feeling symptoms of lost once the film credits roll on his latest masterpiece. Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is an unstable, beautiful young woman who is suffering from depression following her husband Martin Taylor’s (Channing Tatum) arrest [on their wedding day no less] for insider trading. While Emily holds down payments on a little apartment in New York City, all the while attending therapy and struggling to find a pharmaceutical prescription that best fits her lifestyle, her depression worsens.
    Four years later, Martin is released, contributing more to Emily’s anxieties. Unable to mould in social settings, Emily takes matters into her own hands and attempts to commit suicide by driving into a brick wall. Bruised and battered, Emily begins a relationship with a new therapist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Detained at the hospital after her failed attempt at suicide, Dr. Banks agrees to release Emily under the sole condition that she begins treatment with him. Under Dr. Banks’ guidance, Emily goes through an array of various anti-depressants which leaves them no choice but to try a new experimental drug, recommended by Emily’s previous therapist, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) Ablixa. While under the powerful side effects of the new drug, Emily commits an unforgivable crime that leaves Dr. Banks’ life spiralling into utter chaos. The film undoubtedly is a work of collaboration, like many of Soderbergh’s previous works. Scott Z. Burns crafts an elaborately stylish screenplay and the performances by Mara, Zeta-Jones, Tatum and Law are spectacular in every way imaginable. But thanks to Soderbergh’s decision to retire from the medium prematurely, however brilliant everyone else is in the film, the movie’s’ focus is directly on him. Side Effects can be described as nothing short of artful perfection. Much like the effects of a poisonous fog, clouding the unfocused thoughts and blurry morals of ethical people, Side Effects is a remedy for self-awareness and clarity. Unorthodox in nature, and possibly being labelled as the first “pharma-noir” film of its kind, Side Effects is an atmospheric, tense and taught mystery film that sedates to pleasurable ends. Captivating in every frame and cunning with every cut, Side Effects is a modern day horror film founded in the deep realities of the lives of everyday people. As a character states in the film, “Rational people may see it like that, but I don’t see many rational people around” and Soderbergh’s underlining message is a self-reflexsive piece right and wrong. Is the authority that a doctor has over a patient more terrifying than assuming that people are naturally good in nature and thought—when they are not?
    Soderbergh is one of the few directors who always respects his audience and never dumbs his viewers down. Perhaps the greatest mystery that the film presents is why Soderbergh has decided to retire the camera for a paintbrush? And although Side Effects is his graceful farewell film and that notion is quite a bitter pill to swallow, it is just what the doctor ordered.
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  50. Feb 17, 2013
    9
    Side Effects is a very well done film. It has twists and turns that are actually surprising and it is reported by an excellent cast. The filming was good the writing was good and it was visually well done. Also as a Psychology major I found the plot extremely interesting! I would recommend this film to anyone.
  51. Feb 16, 2013
    5
    Decent movie but not something I could recommend to anyone. I think the (roughly) 2 hours was not well spent. The last 20-30 minutes of the film felt rushed and it required a lot of acceptance from the viewer on things that were not very well explained to make the movie work. Overall it was interesting but not new or unique.
  52. Feb 15, 2013
    9
    For Rooney Mara fans, this was her best work thus far. Her character "acts" in the movie, and it just highlights her ability as an actor. The writers got a little lazy with some aspects of the movie, i.e., when Jude Law shows the video of her taking it. Unrealistic character flaws or reactions should not be a driver in moving the story along. Overall though, very nice twists.
  53. Feb 14, 2013
    9
    “Side Effects” is a movie, well, about side effects to prescription drugs. However, that’s just on the surface. When you delve deeper into this psychological thriller, it becomes more about the side effects to different choices we make, whether it be positive or negative. The effects it has on us and the ones around us. It is a fairly thought provoking film that let’s us take a look into corruption.

    Steven Soderbergh is a great director, but his biggest complaint maybe that he takes a while to get his movies going. He takes his time to set stuff up, but rewards you at the end with a psychological mind *beep. The attention to detail is commendable, but at times certain things feel a bit contrived. However, when everything starts coming together, it all starts making sense and you can’t help but wonder why you didn’t see it before. The writing is top notch, but the dialogue is all to memorable. The shots are inventive, but feel classic Soderbergh, who always has unusual artsy camera angles. At the end of the day, it is a thought provoking and engaging story. Acting from the entire cast is fantastic. Rooney Mara gives a stunning performance. She has little quirks that make her character enthralling to watch. However, the biggest scene stealer for me is Judd Law, who gives a remarkable performance. He delivers his lines eloquently and with a British flair where you’re captivated by what he says. The whole cast is great and together they make the unmemorable dialogue sensational with their delivery. Overall, “Side Effects” is a engrossing movie that keeps you guessing till the very end. With Soderbergh’s fantastic direction and performances by a dedicated cast this film is a winner by all means. While it may feel disjointed and confusing in the beginning, it becomes entrancing when things start coming together leaving the viewers with a satisfying conclusion. This a great send off for Soderbergh and he will be remembered as a great director for years to come. I give it 4.5/5, well directed and performed film that is riveting. “Fetch Status”
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  54. Feb 14, 2013
    6
    I hope this is not his last film as it is not one of his better efforts. It starts out with a great deal of promise but when the plot has to be solved, it falters. The resolution seems rushed as if they ran out of ideas. The Jude Law character figuring it out and then Jones being so ignorant after being so cunning is just too unbelievable. I was hoping for better.
  55. Feb 14, 2013
    7
    A great thriller, but in 2013 it's not much more than an episode of CSI. Literally, we felt like the first half was only there to prevent this from being wider recepted. Full review at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JRGamC1mZY
  56. Feb 13, 2013
    9
    "Side Effects" is an intelligent, thought-provoking thriller for adult audiences the film is beautifully directed and acted, and the focused script keeps the action moving forward with few distractions. It's better NOT to know much about the plot, because the way in which it unfolds is one of the film's pleasures. That said, all four main Actors are excellent, with Jude Law and Rooney Mara outstanding. No knock to current cinema, but in an era of super heroes and vampires, it's nice to have a smart film for adults. Expand
  57. Feb 12, 2013
    5
    After a few years of forgettable performances in undistinguished movies Jude Law started a ‘comeback’ with the Sherlock Holmes movies, stage performances and continues with a stellar performance as a psychiatrist in “Side Effects”. His character makes a complete change from when we first meet him willing to take $50,000 from a pharmaceutical company to test a drug to the aftermath with one of his patients to when he finds himself fighting to get back all he lost.

    All of us have heard the dire side effects of drugs either whispered or quickly said during TV commercials or glance at the warnings on the sheet of paper the pharmacist gives us with the bottle of pills. Could one of the side effects of this new medicine cause a patient to kill? If it does who is to blame? The patient? The Doctor?

    When we first meet Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) she is awaiting her husband’s release from jail after his serving time for insider training. A short time after Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) comes home we see Emily driving her car into a concrete wall and while in the hospital she is tended to by Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who subscribes a new trial drug Ablixa.

    Along the way we meet Martin’s mother (Ann Dowd), Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who was, at one time, Emily’s doctor and Deirdre Banks (Vinessa Shaw) Dr. Bank’s wife. All performances hold up under scrutiny and after you see the movie that will be an important conversation regarding the movie.

    What starts as a psychological movie turns into a mystery thriller with just a few too many twists at the end. The screenplay by Scott Z. Burns is smartly written until the end where even he seems confused about exactly who did what and why. Director Steven Soderbergh, who claims this is his last motion picture, does a good job except for one too many close ups of Rooney Mara using her hair as a frame. The music of Thomas Newman blends in with the movie offering underscoring of important parts.

    “Side Effects” lightly touches on doctors selling out to pharmaceutical companies, gets a little deeper into how various pills can affect a person’s being and hits with a couple of twists that you won’t see coming. With all the good to say about the film the final side effects will, maybe, to reread your medicine warnings and throw the pills out and/or asking, “What?” as you walk out of the auditorium.
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  58. Feb 11, 2013
    7
    I had relatively modest expectations for this one, as Soderbergh has produced films of varying quality over the last few years (highs: Haywire Magic Mike; lows: The Girlfriend Experience Contagion). Side Effects is an interesting, twisty drama set against the backdrop of the mental health and criminal justice systems. Jude law is fantastic, and Mara is strong though not nearly as good as she was in Dragon Tattoo. Because this film is best experienced by those who don't know much about it, I'll leave it at that. Collapse
  59. Feb 11, 2013
    5
    Boring, predictable and a very weak ending. I don't understand the critic's love for Steven Soderbergh. Only positive are the performances by the actors.
  60. Feb 11, 2013
    7
    Saw this the other day with a friend, not expecting a whole lot. However, I demand that you go and see this movie. It's extremely well made and a great way to go out for Steven Soderbergh. Best film I've seen in 2013 so far.
  61. Feb 10, 2013
    7
    Side Effects picks up in the second and third act, so if you are still with it up to that point you might enjoy it. This is apparently Steven Soderbergh's last movie, and it's nice to see he made an adult themed thriller instead of another Oceans movie. Well crafted and stylish, with some added twists and turns at the end, but in the end I ask myself if I would like to see it again, and the answer is probably not anytime soon. Expand
  62. Feb 10, 2013
    5
    The movie was enjoyable until the end. Along the way we watch the rise and fall of two characters as they slowly trade places. Then Hollywood in its infitesimal wisdom decided to give it a hack ending. Not sure why? it was fine as a slow paced psychological thriller, but it failed in the dismount. Like a gymnast who was on their way to a perfect 10 falling flat on his/her face, the film ruins itself in the last 20 minutes. Oh well. Aside from that Rooney Mara is a pleasure to watch on the screen. Expand
  63. Feb 10, 2013
    6
    Channing Tatum gets out of jail for insider trading and his loving wife (Rooney Mara) is having trouble with depression. Her shrink (Jude Law) recommends drugs to help, but the title happens, so he connects with her former doc (Catherine Zeta Jones) for counsel. I don't usually include that much plot, but the story is complicated. Unfortunately, none of the twists are that surprising. The pacing is deliberate, but director Steven Soderbergh manages to maintain interest. This film is not compelling, shocking, suspenseful or particularly memorable. Expand
  64. Feb 10, 2013
    7
    Although some of its "twists" and character relationships could be developed more clearly, "Side Effects" still comes through as a surprisingly engrossing thriller with fantastic turns from Rooney Mara and Jude Law.
  65. Feb 9, 2013
    8
    Does anyone here know that big pharma brings in more money than all of Hollywood put together. I have to say this movie had me fooled. My mind was like a sunflower standing in the wind as the movie would blow one direction and then start gusting the other way. It was quite refreshing actually. All the actors did a good convincing job which is so important in this type of film. Channing Tatum's acting skills are improving with every appearance. Expand
  66. Feb 9, 2013
    8
    This movie is great, first 30 minutes, the movie move slow, to show the characters. Then, get ready for this thriller and suspense. Very relevant and current, with the medicine industry.
  67. Feb 9, 2013
    4
    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
  68. Feb 9, 2013
    10
    Awesome movie, good acting, pretty interesting
  69. Feb 9, 2013
    7
    The creepy tone of this movie and overall craft were great, but the outcome of the supposed mystery was fairly predictable. Great acting. I enjoyed watching the movie, but if the intent was to surprise, it didn't work for me.
  70. Feb 8, 2013
    10
    Best movie from director Steven Soderbergh
  71. Feb 8, 2013
    4
    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
  72. Feb 8, 2013
    8
    An engrossing thriller that takes quite a few twists and turns that keeps you guessing throughout most of the film. I had heard that this movie was inspired and I could definitely see that. Law and Mara lead the way for a cast that overall did a very good job in the acting department.
Metascore
75

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
    80
    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
    91
    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
    90
    Side Effects virtually demands a three-word review: Just see it.