Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is trying very hard to be happy. Her husband (Channing Tatum) is newly released from prison and they can resume their lives together. But happiness isn’t coming easy: Emily is depressed, and suicidal. She begins seeing a new doctor (Jude Law) who prescribes an anti-depressant called Ablixa. Ablixa’s causing some strange side effects though. Worrisome side effects. Violent side effects.
Side Effects is a smart, well-crafted thriller by Steven Soderbergh. He’s heavily influenced by Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction and hits all the right marks for a taut, twisty little thing. He’s not big on making a statement about pharmaceuticals or psychiatry or mental illness, any of which might have been appropriate.
I forgot how much I liked this movie. It was supposedly Soderbergh’s last, and it seemed one he could be proud to go out on. TV stuff notwithstanding. But now, at the ripe old age of 53, he’s “come out of retirement” to do Logan Lucky, the new Daniel Craig\Sebastian Stan\Channing Tatum\Katherine Heigl\Adam Driver\Hilary Swank Nascar-heist movie.
But back to Side Effects. The first half is about guilt and mental health: how they interact in a doctor’s office, and in a court of law. The second half is a little more Alfred Hitchcock than Adrian Lyne. Things come unglued. The second half is less successful than the first but a fun, engrossing watch. The anxiety is ratcheted up expertly, with Soderbergh always in control. Rooney Mara is a terrific actress and she coasts ably over any rough terrain. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jude Law keep up. Soderbergh stays at the top of his game as well – true, he circumnavigates truth and exploration in favour of entertainment, but it’s forgivable. It’s always forgivable when it’s this fun to watch.
Good and fair review. For me, this movie was very stylish but compromised substance as a result, and the twist ending did nothing for me at all. You are right, the second half was far less successful. I recall Soderbergh’s “Contagion”, and think if a movie is not too intelligent or complicated, he does much better.
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Ooh! I could have sworn I saw this offered on Netflix but I passed by it. I have to go check now.💁🏻
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I liked this one too, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Big Pharma takes lives every minute. Glad to see they made a true depiction.
I quite liked this one and wouldn’t disagree with your thoughts on it at all. A decent enough thriller type flick that includes a bit of big pharmaceutical shenanigans…
well now..Jude Law you say… im there!!!!!!
I’m going to watch the film. Thanks for your post x