Emily Taylor, despite being reunited with her husband from prison, becomes severely depressed with emotional episodes and suicide attempts. Her psychiatrist, Jonathan Banks, after conferring with her old doctor, eventually prescribes her an experimental new medication he’s consulting on, Ablixa. However, its side effects on Emily prove increasingly serious with Emily sleepwalking until she kills her husband in that state. With Emily plea bargained into a mental hospital commitment and Dr. Banks’ practice in ruins, the case seems closed. However, Dr. Banks cannot accept he was at fault and investigates to clear his name. What follows is a dark quest that threatens to tear what’s left of his life apart even as he discovers the diabolical truth of this tragedy.
Film informationGenre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
- Portland Oregonian - by Marc Mohan
By the time the satisfying conclusion rolls around, though, it proves to be much more about the ability of a world-class director to induce such willing suspension of disbelief that even the loopiest narrative developments seem like the most natural thing in the world. ...read more
- Time - by Richard Corliss
Side Effects virtually demands a three-word review: Just see it. ...read more
- Los Angeles Times - by Kenneth Turan
This clever bag of tricks is made with so much cinematic skill it makes implausibility irrelevant. What happens on screen is unapologetically far-fetched, but it unfolds with enough panache to make turning away out of the question. ...
- The New York Times - by A.O. Scott
While the plot may be predictable (and more than a little preposterous) in retrospect, Mr. Soderbergh handles it brilliantly, serving notice once again that he is a crackerjack genre technician. ...
- Arizona Republic - by Randy Cordova
Ultimately, think of the movie as a puzzle box in which all the pieces fit together wonderfully well. Once you step back and take a look at how it’s all put together, you have to marvel at how cleverly constructed the whole thing is. ...
- Philadelphia Inquirer - by Steven Rea
Side Effects, chilly and noirish, and boasting a wily performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones as a therapist who worked with Emily earlier in her adulthood, is, Soderbergh says, his swan song. ...
- Rolling Stone - by Peter Travers
Side Effects is Soderbergh in full, flinty vigor. It's anything but a formula murder mystery. ...read more
- The A.V. Club - by Scott Tobias
Like his underappreciated "Haywire," Side Effects screws around in its own thriller architecture, toying with feints of structure and clever bits of misdirection, and otherwise playing the audience like a fiddle. At this point in his career, Soderbergh pulls it off with the unpracticed ease of a maestro. ...read more
- Entertainment Weekly - by Owen Gleiberman
Side Effects is mostly a good Saturday-night movie, but by the end, it's caused a few unintended side effects of its own: a bit of head-scratching, and a giggle or two of disbelief. ...read more
- indieWIRE - by Eric Kohn
The scenes pile up with frenetic intensity; as with Soderbergh's other recent exercises in the suspense genre, no single cutaway goes wasted. ...read more
- Empire - by Ian Freer
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. ...read more
- New York Daily News - by Joe Neumaier
The movie respects a viewer’s intelligence, which should also serve as a warning; don’t be lulled into a stupor. Keeping sharp will allow all the fun and menace in this terrific thriller to seep into your head. ...read more
- Village Voice - by Melissa Anderson
If Side Effects, an immensely pleasurable thriller centering around psychotropic drugs, really is Steven Soderbergh's final big-screen film, as the director claims it will be, then he has peaked in the Valley of the Dolls. ...read more
- New York Magazine (Vulture) - by David Edelstein
Soderbergh’s alleged last theatrical film is paranoid and hopeless, but he leaves the field with a bounce in his step. ...read more
- Variety - by Justin Chang
Steven Soderbergh's elegantly coiled puzzler spins a tale of clinical depression and psychiatric malpractice into an absorbing, cunningly unpredictable entertainment that, like much of his recent work, closely observes how a particular subset of American society operates in a needy, greedy, paranoid and duplicitous age. ...
- Austin Chronicle - by Marjorie Baumgarten
You never really see any of it coming, which is what makes the film such a marvel – and so difficult to discuss. ...read more
- Boston Globe - by Ty Burr
A sleekly clever murder mystery, the film plays as many games with the audience as it does with its characters, and for the majority of the running time — the challenge comes from matching wits with what you’re seeing. ...read more
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto) - by Liam Lacey
But it’s Rooney who commands the most attention. As she already proved in David Fincher’s "The Social Network" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," she has an oddly fascinating screen presence, suggesting both vulnerability and inscrutable levels of calculation. Few actors or actresses can make inexpressiveness look so smart. ...read more
- New York Post - by Lou Lumenick
I walked out of Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects thinking to myself, “Finally, a mainstream 2013 movie I can whole-heartedly recommend’’ — then quickly added, “well, except that it will probably piss off a sizeable portion of the target audience.’’ ...
- Chicago Tribune - by Michael Phillips
With Rooney Mara as the woman in question — a poised, tense Manhattanite prescribed anti-anxiety medication by her psychiatrist with newsworthy results — Side Effects finds its ideal performer. ...read more
- ReelViews - by James Berardinelli
There's something delightfully old-fashioned about Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects. It's the kind of thriller that Alfred Hitchcock might make if he was still alive and active today. ...read more
- Movie Nation - by Roger Moore
Steven Soderbergh, rightly considered one of Hollywood’s smartest movie makers, is at his cleverest in Side Effects, a canny, cunning big idea thriller in a minor key, an engrossing zeitgeist whodunit about Wall Street, Big Pharma, prescription drugs and the power we give psychiatry and psychologists. ...read more
- The New Yorker - by David Denby
In Side Effects, the working out of the thriller plot is accomplished with too much verbal explanation. [11 & 18 Feb. 2013, p.114] ...
- Salon.com - by Andrew O'Hehir
It’s masterfully shot and edited, with a brooding soundtrack and a mysterious, dreamlike undertow – and, when all is revealed, it’s not even half as interesting as it seems to be. ...read more
- Slate - by Dana Stevens
Some of these revelations feel like clever reversals, others like calculated rug-pulls, but we never stop caring about what happens next. ...read more
- Christian Science Monitor - by Peter Rainer
Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns maintain a tone of taut creepiness, but the plot’s double and triple crosses are more ingenious than believable. ...read more
- Slant Magazine - by Ed Gonzalez
Like Magic Mike, Side Effects is enlivened by Soderbergh's jazzy style and laidback moralism, bringing to mind the work of another connoisseur of genre, Robert Altman. ...read more
- Time Out New York - by Keith Uhlich
It’s a reasonably diverting piece of work, falling somewhere between the high of "Magic Mike" (2012) and the low of "Haywire" (2011), among his recent efforts. ...read more
- USA Today - by Scott Bowles
Like a lot of meds, it loses its effectiveness over time, and you'll build a resistance to Effects eventually, particularly when it dissolves into a standard crime flick. ...read more
- Washington Post - by Ann Hornaday
Like a gel cap in a sip of orange juice, the psycho-pharmacological thriller Side Effects goes down easily, even if its long-term impact turns out to be barely discernible. ...
- The Hollywood Reporter - by Todd McCarthy
In trying to merge this alarmist theme with an old-fashioned murder mystery, the filmmakers throw at least one plot-twist sucker-punch too many, leaving the viewer with an “Oh, come on” reaction to the entire film. ...read more
- NPR - by Mark Jenkins
The movie maintains its sense of style throughout, but that hardly matters as the story just gets stupider and stupider. ...read more