User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 307 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 307
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  1. 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. ChanningDoes 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
  2. 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 twistsI 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
  3. 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'sThis 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Feb 8, 2013
    10
    Best movie from director Steven Soderbergh
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 goodI 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. Expand
  12. 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"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
  13. 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 aGreat 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
  14. 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-
  15. 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 withIt 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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 bestGreat 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
  19. 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“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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  20. 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.
  21. Sep 5, 2014
    8
    This was a very good and twisty thriller. Steven Soderbergh is great in the director's chair as usual. Jude Law and Rooney Mara are also the two main standouts in this cast, though Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum are also strong in more supporting roles. This one really manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film with each twist and turn you do not see coming.This was a very good and twisty thriller. Steven Soderbergh is great in the director's chair as usual. Jude Law and Rooney Mara are also the two main standouts in this cast, though Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum are also strong in more supporting roles. This one really manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film with each twist and turn you do not see coming. The writing here is splendid and the way the story is presented by Soderbergh is a major strength for this one. The cinematography is also strong here, as is usually the case in Soderbergh's films. The film does take many twists, some of them easier to figure out than others, but ultimately,it manages to keep things really interesting as this one could easily be categorized as many things; medical thriller, psychological thriller, crime drama, and a little bit of courtroom drama, all of which keep things lively and interesting. Overall, Side Effects is a very well made, low-key, and above all, entertaining film that will leave you more than satisfied. 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. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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 payClever 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
  26. 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"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
  27. 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, andSide 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
  28. 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.
  29. 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"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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  30. 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'sBeing 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
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.