'Side Effects': How Did the (Prescription) Drug-Fueled Thriller Affect Critics?

The Reviews Are In
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The less you know about Side Effects, the better.

At least that’s what the critics recommend for the twisted new film from director Steven Soderbergh, starring Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Rooney Mara.

Effects centers on Mara’s character, Emily, who finds herself suffering from depression when her husband (Tatum) is released from prison. The closer Emily’s marriage gets to normalcy, the more depressed and unpredictable she becomes – resulting in some truly surprising and violent consequences, especially for the young doctor (Law) assigned to her treatment.

On the eve of his pending retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, Soderbergh has been on quite the tear, crossing off one genre after another on his “To-Do” list. With Side Effects, the director can check off "psychological thriller," but was the effort worth tackling at all?

Here’s what the critics have to say:

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

“[Side Effects] is terrific, and it’s entertaining, but a great deal of the pleasure of watching it comes from having the rug pulled out from under you. If Soderbergh makes good on his threat to retire, Side Effects reminds us of what we’ll be missing…”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Soderbergh came, he saw, he conquered, and now he's moving on. Rooney Mara's performance is instrumental… [But] some people, ambushed by the last 10 minutes, will be thinking, 'What a load of crap'."

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Jude Law, who stood out in [Steven Soderbergh’s] Contagion, also commands attention here, but it’s sometimes hard to watch his character so selflessly digging himself deeper into a hole from which it will be very hard to emerge… 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.”

James Rocchi, MSN Movies

“The director who came into the field with Sex, Lies, and Videotape leaves it with sex and lies shot on video, still surprising us with both the stories he tells and the stories hidden inside them.”

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

“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.”

Have you seen Side Effects? Do you give it thumbs up or thumbs down? Watch the film’s trailer then give Celebuzz your review in the comments section.

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