Film Review: Side Effects

| 28 February , 2013 | 1 Reply

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Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum
Sassi’s Star Rating: 4/5

Often the hardest part of reviewing is striking just the right balance between enticing readers with plot details, and giving away all the best bits of the film. With a narrative as juicy as Side Effects it’s a shame to tell you anything more than the bare minimum.


We meet Emily (Rooney Mara) on the eve of her husband’s release from gaol. Martin (Channing Tatum) has been inside for four years after being prosecuted for insider trading. Reintegrating back into normal life isn’t easy for the pair – particularly for Emily, who suffering from depression tries to kill herself. She comes under the care of Dr Jonathon Banks (Jude Law) at the local hospital, and following the recommendation of her former Psychologist (Catherine Zeta Jones) she is trialled on a new anti-depressant, Ablixa.

From there…I’d love to tell you more, but I fear I’ve already said too much. I can let slip one last comment though: we all know just how scary and unpredictable the side effects of new medications can be.


Soderbergh has hit the nail on the head again with this smart psychological thriller that pulls all the right punches. He’s also shot and edited the film under his usual pseudonyms (ten pints if you recognised them in the titles!). I think he probably deserves to pat himself on the back for this one – the one man band has pulled through again with intriguing results.


Jude Law is in excellent form in his second Soderbergh movie of late (he starred in Contagion) while Channing Tatum has also been pinched from another Soderbergh hit Magic Mike. The former guides you through the twists and turns with confidence, while the later reveals himself still stand up as quite the charming lead away from romantic declarations and gyrating hips. But it is Rooney Mara who is the scene stealer with a stunning performance that is worlds apart, and above, from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


This review comes with a plea; please don’t read any more reviews of this film, and not just because we don’t want you checking out the competition. I’ve seen too many reviewers giving away too many details without even including the inane cry of SPOILER ALERT (because let’s face it, no one ever really stops reading when they see that shiny beacon of temptation do they?) It’s a shame because the best thing about this film is that there is no way to predict what is coming next. In fact you’re so busy trying to process the last mindtwist that you don’t even try. So if you want the pleasure of seeing the film the same way the critics did – walk in with a blank slate. You’ll thank me for it.

Side Effects is in cinemas now. Make sure you see it now, doctor’s orders.


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Category: Film & TV

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  1. Dan O. says:

    Fine review Paige. It’s not likely to linger in your memory for a long time after watching it, but it’s nonetheless very entertaining.

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