Review: Side Effects (2013)

Steven Soderbergh’s new psychological thriller, SIDE EFFECTS, comes to theaters this Friday. Check out my review below.


DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh

CAST: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones



Before I start this review, let me preface that my “formal” school training is in Psychology. I am getting my Master’s degree in Psychology with a desire to pursue my PhD in Psychology in the future. This film in particular peaked my interest due to the psychological nature of the trailers, as well as the solid cast.



Imagine that you decide to seek treatment for some issues and your doctor prescribes you a medication. As with any medication, there will be side effects that most commonly include headaches, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, etc. Most of the times, these side effects are natural and can easily be dealt with by adding another medication that counteracts these side effects.

This is where SIDE EFFECTS starts off. We see what seems to be a semi-normally adjusted girl, Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) who has some trouble adjusting to her husband Martin’s (Channing Tatum) return from almost 2 years in prison for the all too familiar insider trading. Upon his release, we see that Emily has some issues with having her husband around, and naturally is forced to go into treatment after an apparent suicide attempt. She is treated by Dr. Banks (Jude Law), who puts her on several medications, including an new-to-the-market drug. One day, one a new drug, something horrible happens, and Dr. Banks’ ethical practice is called into question. With the help (or not so help) from Emily’s former psychiatrist, Dr. Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Dr. Banks sets out to find the truth and clear his name after his life gets turned upside down.

From a critic standpoint, this movie is fantastic. The acting is great, as it has a solid cast. The plot has twists, and few unexpected turns, and a definite unexpected ending. Each of the actors carried their characters, which all had depth. Jude Law plays an outstanding and determined psychiatrist. Catherine Zeta-Jones, although not a primary character throughout the movie, plays an amazing supporting role as another psychiatrist. Rooney Mara, who is most recently known for her work in GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, knocked it out of the park and keeps you guessing what will happen next. Channing Tatum, who plays an important but another supporting role, is fantastic as a young just-out-of-jail Wall Street exec trying to rebuild his life. The movie doesn’t drag nor does it have any lulls.

From a psychology student’s perspective, the movie is spot-on with covering ethical issues. In psychology, there is a very very thin and blurred line between what is ethical and what isn’t. It basically comes down to a case-by-case review of where the line needs to be drawn. When something goes awry, psychologists or psychiatrists need to go through a certain ethics review, which is something that is addressed in the movie. If you are studying, or thinking of going into psychology, this is a must-see movie.


SIDE EFFECTS is in theaters this Friday, February 8th. I suggest seeing this psychological thriller. You will be surprised!

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