User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 341 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 341
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  1. 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.
  2. Feb 8, 2013
    10
    Best movie from director Steven Soderbergh
  3. 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 weddingSide 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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  4. 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-
  5. 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.
  6. 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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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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
    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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  14. 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.
  15. 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
    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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  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  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. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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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  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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
    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.
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  28. 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 makeLike 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
  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 andUnderstated 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 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
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.