User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 335 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 335
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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 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.
  5. 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. TheChanning 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
  6. 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 filmThe 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 oneAfter 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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  11. 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
  12. 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 thisSoderbergh 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
  13. 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
    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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  14. 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
    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.
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  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Feb 8, 2013
    10
    Best movie from director Steven Soderbergh
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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-
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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.