Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 220 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 26, 2013
    He’s taken what, on paper, boils down to an extra ridiculous episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and passes it off as high cinematic art.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 7, 2013
    In another sense, though, everything is exactly what it seems, expertly crafted and cleverly compounded for high-dose entertainment.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 6, 2013
    Imagine music for a sorcery-related plot and then dial it down to ominous forebodings. Without Thomas Newman's score, Side Effects would be a lesser film, even another film.
  4. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Feb 3, 2013
    The picture's conspiratorial late-night tone and fleshy after hours luridness was practically built for watching at night, when our parents think we've gone off to bed (think '80s films directed by folks like Adrian Lyne).
  5. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Feb 8, 2013
    The main thing to keep in mind while watching Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Side Effects is not to take the movie too seriously or else you’ll feel betrayed by the end.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 7, 2013
    It's a gripping, maddening and thoroughly satisfying thriller, made with artfulness and integrity. Soderbergh sees things in his actors and gets things from them that other directors don't.
  7. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 6, 2013
    What it turns out to be is a preposterous puzzle that fails every test under scrutiny, leaving the spectator with a “Huh?” that is meant to be uttered only while chewing gum.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 71
  2. Negative: 5 out of 71
  1. May 11, 2013
    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. Expand
  2. Feb 14, 2013
    “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”
  3. Jun 4, 2013
    "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- Expand
  4. Feb 11, 2013
    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. Expand
  5. Jun 18, 2013
    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
  6. May 8, 2013
    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).
  7. Mar 31, 2013
    Character development was completely neglected in light of an actually great narrative. Good choice of actors to portray all elements of the story, but ultimately weak in creating anything substantial. Expand

See all 71 User Reviews


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