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Side Effects

7/10
Thriller . Crime . Drama
 

A woman turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety concerning her husband's upcoming release from prison.

 
Actors: Ann Dowd , Mamie Gummer , Andrea Bogart , Polly Draper , David Costabile , Marin Ireland , Carmen Pelaez , Vinessa Shaw , Catherine Zeta-Jones , Channing Tatum , Jude Law , Rooney Mara
Directors: Steven Soderbergh
Country: USA
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  • Jordan Hoffman

    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.

    Film.com Full Review
  • 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.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Side Effects virtually demands a three-word review: Just see it.

    Time Full Review
  • 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.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    In another sense, though, everything is exactly what it seems, expertly crafted and cleverly compounded for high-dose entertainment.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • 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.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • 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.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • 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.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    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.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Side Effects is Soderbergh in full, flinty vigor. It's anything but a formula murder mystery.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • 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.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • 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.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • 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.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • 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.

    Empire Full Review
  • 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.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • 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.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Soderbergh’s alleged last theatrical film is paranoid and hopeless, but he leaves the field with a bounce in his step.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • 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.

    Variety Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    You never really see any of it coming, which is what makes the film such a marvel – and so difficult to discuss.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    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.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • 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.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • 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.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • 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.’’

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    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.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • 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.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • 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.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • 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.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Drew Taylor

    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).

    The Playlist Full Review
  • 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.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    Some of these revelations feel like clever reversals, others like calculated rug-pulls, but we never stop caring about what happens next.

    Slate Full Review
  • 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.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • 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.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • 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.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • 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.

    USA Today Full Review
  • 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.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • 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.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Mark Jenkins

    The movie maintains its sense of style throughout, but that hardly matters as the story just gets stupider and stupider.

    NPR Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    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.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • 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]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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